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The Past and the Present

Painting of a small, dark room with grey doors, grey wainscoting, and white walls. A blue bed with four pilllows is against the back wall. A painting hangs on that wall.

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  • Painting of a small, dark room with grey doors, grey wainscoting, and white walls. A blue bed with four pilllows is against the back wall. A painting hangs on that wall.

Date:

c. 1945

Artist:

Gertrude Abercrombie
American, 1909–1977

About this artwork

Chicagoan Gertrude Abercrombie painted deeply personal works, using objects, motifs, and references knowable only to herself and her social and artistic circle. The Past and the Present depicts a spare interior, whose somber tones are partially relieved by the bright blues and greens of the furniture covering, pillow, and lampshade. It is a vision of her first apartment in Hyde Park on the city’s South Side. Although the room is precisely rendered, as if painted from direct observation, Abercrombie no longer lived there. When she made this work, she was living in the Chicago rowhouse portrayed in the painting on the back wall. Abercrombie thus collapsed time, ruminating on her past and investing it with a vivid and strange realism.

Status

On View, Gallery 262

Department

Arts of the Americas

Artist

Gertrude Abercrombie

Title

The Past and the Present

Place

Chicago (Object made in)

Date

c. 1945

Medium

Oil on Masonite

Dimensions

55.9 × 68.6 cm (22 × 27 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust

Reference Number

1978.398

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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