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.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Artists for Victory (1 January - 22 February 1943), cat. p. 3; awarded Second Medal.
Boston, Institute of Modern Art, Artists for Victory (25 May - 19 June 1943).
Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, 54th Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture (28 October - 12 December1943).
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Painting in the United States, 1944 (5 September - 10 December 1944), cat. no. 36, pl. 48.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto (February 1945).
Terre Haute, Indiana, Sheldon Swope Art Gallery (May 1945).
Rhode Island School of Design, Contemporary American Painting (6 February - 28 February 1946).
Andover, Massachusetts, Andover Gallery of Art, Museum's Choice (8 March - April 1946).
Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts - Texas State Fair, The 50 Most Popular Paintings in the History of American Art (9 October - 7 November 1948).
Denver, Colorado, Denver Art Museum, Life in America (4 March - 30 April 1951).
Omaha, Nebraska, Joslyn Art Museum, Centennial Exhibition (11 May - 4 July 1954).
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Illusion and Reality (15 June - 22 July 1956), cat. no. 16, pl. 16; traveled to Pasadena, Pasadena Museum (5 August - 9 September 1956); traveled to Houston, Houston Museum of Fine Arts (5 October - 31 October 1956); traveled to Dallas, New University Art Center, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (31 October - 30 November 1956).
Terra Haute, Indiana, The Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, 20th Anniversary Special Exhibition: 60 Terre Haute Artists (4 November - 2 December 1962), cat. not numbered.
Wichita, Kansas, Wichita Art Museum, An Unfulfilled Dream: The Neglected Generation of American Scene Painters: 1930-1948 (2 May - 14 June, 1981), cat. p 29, figure 29.
Terre Haute, Indiana, The Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, A Retrospective Exhibition of the Art of John Rogers Cox (May 14 - June 13 1982), cat. pl. 1.
Columbus, OH, Columbus Museum of Art, Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland (18 February - 30 April 2000) cat. ill. cover, pp. 94, 186, p. 271 ; traveled to Vienna, Austria, Museum of Modern Art/Ludwig Foundation Vienna (1 June - 15 August 2000); traveled to Budapest, Hungary, Ludwig Museum/Museum of Contemporary Art (25 September - 26 November 2000); did not travel to Madison, Wisconsin, Madison Art Center (24 February - 13 May 2001); did not travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science (June - August 2001).
The Cleveland Museum of Art (03/01/2006 - 06/01/2006); "American Icons: American Masterworks from the 1930s"
Columbus, OH: Columbus Museum of Art "Illusions of Eden: Visions of the Amercian Heartland" 2/18/00 - 4/30/00; exh. cat. no. 104, repr. p. 94, p. 271.
|1942-1943||(Artists for Victory, Inc., 1942-1943 exhibition, New York, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)1|
|1943-||The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio|
1Purchased with income from the Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, from Artists for Victory, Inc. The Artists for Victory exhibition, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was also mounted at the Cleveland Museum of Art, in 1943.
Artists for Victory: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, Paintings, Sculpture, Prints. 2 vols. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1942.