Elevator Door, Chicago Stock Exchange
On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
Lois Mailou Jones painted Leigh Whipper at the height of his career as a Broadway and Hollywood actor. Whipper would soon be famous for his role as Crooks in the 1939 film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. His character—a stable hand ostracized because of his race—served to illuminate the movie’s Depression-era message that the American Dream’s promise of economic and social success was impossible.
The artist’s portrayal of a pensive Whipper answered Alain Locke’s call for black artists to create ennobling representations of African Americans. Locke was an intellectual during the Harlem Renaissance, a movement in the 1920s and 1930s that resulted in a blossoming of African American culture.
Wrought iron, cast bronze, copper
84 1/2 x 41 x 1 in., 125 lb. (214.6 x 104.1 x 2.5 cm, 56.7kg) (show scale)
Gift of Mrs. H. A. Metzger, by exchange
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Winslow Brothers Company. Elevator Door, Chicago Stock Exchange, 1893. Wrought iron, cast bronze, copper, 84 1/2 x 41 x 1 in., 125 lb. (214.6 x 104.1 x 2.5 cm, 56.7kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. H. A. Metzger, by exchange, 2012.10. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2012.10_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2012.10_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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