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Between and Mortarboard

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Accession Number


Vernon Jirgins

Object Creation Date
circa 1950-1960

Medium & Support
watercolor on paper

23 9/16 in x 29 7/16 in (59.85 cm x 74.77 cm);23 1/4 in x 29 1/4 in (59.06 cm x 74.3 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection

Subject matter
A self-taught artist, Jirgins here depicts a street scene in Chicago. The details of this painting are interesting, as Jirgins has labeled most of the buildings and vehicles in the scene. His name appears on the white building and blue truck in the front left portion of the scene. Numerous train cars are labelled "Union Pacific," "US Mail" or "Railway Express", and buildings indicate their businesses, such as "Pete's bar" on the bottom of the tall building in the upper right corner.   These details show Jirgins' interest in and connection to this Chicago landscape. The careful depiction of such elements highlights the beauty Jirgins must have seen in the city.

Physical Description
This colorful watercolor shows a crowded cityscape with streets appearing in consecutive horizontal bands, each with buildings or specific types of vehicles. High-rise buildings in the background and various smaller buildings, trains, and cars move along the streets in front. Clothes-lines hang between the buildings in the background. A yellow train passes in the foreground. The artists name appears on a white vehicle near the bottom left.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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cityscapes (representations)
elevated trains
high-rise buildings
self-taught artists
trains (vehicle groupings)

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& Author Notes

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