John Rogers Cox (American, 1915-1990)
oil on canvas, Framed - h:116.00 w:152.00 d:12.50 cm (h:45 5/8 w:59 13/16 d:4 7/8 inches)
Unframed - h:91.50 w:151.80 cm (h:36 w:59 3/4 inches). Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1943.60
Cox painted Gray and Gold shortly after the United States joined the Second World War, and its image of amber waves of grain threatened by ominous storm clouds likely has symbolic overtones. The painting's foreground features an intersection of two dirt lanes, as well as a telephone pole emblazoned with political campaign posters. The artist seems to imply that American democracy is at a crossroads during this time of combat against the spread of fascism in Europe and Asia. Interestingly the work was inspired by the landscape around Cox's hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, a location nicknamed "The Crossroads of America" due to the junction of major north-south and east-west national highways within its city limits.
The museum purchased this painting out of a traveling exhibition entitled "Artists for Victory," which consisted of works by artists who wanted to assist in the war effort. The exhibition opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on the first anniversary of the bombing at Pearl Harbor.