description of Vertical Building by Ralston Crawford

This oil painting depicts the top of an industrial building, using simplified shapes and clear, bright, almost primary colors. The building itself is brick red, and features several vertical ridges on the windowless walls. A slate-black chimney pipe with a conical top runs up a channel in the wall to our right of center, and rises into the bright blue sky. To its left is a large, copper-colored drum that sits atop a white frame. To the left of the drum is a rooftop mechanical room, represented by a solid yellow box. The building and rooftop objects have been precisely rendered with shadows and three-dimensionality, but without embellishment or significant detail. The only exception is a bank of three small chimney caps which stand separately to the right of the larger chimney pipe. These objects feature slight ornamentation: flared bases and rimmed tops.

Ralston Crawford, Vertical Building, 1934
Ralston Crawford, Vertical Building, 1934; oil on canvas, 40 1/8 in. x 34 1/8 in. (101.92 cm x 86.68 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Arthur W. Barney Bequest Fund purchase; © Ralston Crawford Estate
Ralston Crawford, Vertical Building, 1934

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Vertical Building
Artist name
Ralston Crawford
Date created
oil on canvas
40 1/8 in. x 34 1/8 in. (101.92 cm x 86.68 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Arthur W. Barney Bequest Fund purchase
© Ralston Crawford Estate
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

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