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Painting: Oil on Canvas.
"If you’re looking to make a bold yet sophisticated statement, this painting by Gregg Chadwick now for sale on Saatchi Art will do just the job. It’s energy, coloration, and structure are all characteristics of classic Deco style."
- Garrett Carter
"Mystery Train (20th Century Limited)" is from my recent series of paintings - "Mystery Train." This is a study in time travel.
The painting reminds me that my grandfather Arthur Desch, worked as a fireman stoking coal in steam engines before he advanced to train engineer on the Jersey Central Line. Parties and family gatherings in my grandparent’s home brought the rhythms of the rails home. In their clean but Jersey dank basement, the sounds of railroad workers echoed in the music my aunts and cousins played in the shadows of the train lines outside. From Junior Parker, to Elvis Presley, to Bob Dylan, to Johnny Cash, to The Band, to Bruce Springsteen, to Michael McDermott, to arts writer Greil Marcus, to film writer and director Jim Jarmusch, the enduring mythos of America and its legacy has been wrapped in the blues notes of the song Mystery Train.
Recently, while flipping through my mom’s carefully tended scrapbook, I found black and white memories of my family’s yearnings, struggles, and triumphs. Whispers of cellar mysteries found their way back into my thoughts and dreams. Today as I paint, a current song by Gary Clark Jr., "When My Train Pulls In", propels me back into memories of earlier sounds of passion and propulsion. My current series of paintings, Mystery Train, is steeped in these powerful echoes of those machine days.
The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train on the New York Central Railroad. The train traveled between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois, along the railroad's "Water Level Route". In 1938 industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss was commissioned by the New York Central to design streamlined train sets in Art Deco style, with the locomotive and passenger cars rendered in blues and grays . The streamlined sets were inaugurated on June 15, 1938. His design was probably the most famous American passenger train
NYC inaugurated this train as competition to the Pennsylvania Railroad, aimed at upper class and business travelers. It made few station stops along the way and used track pans to take water at speed. Beginning on June 15, 1938, when it got streamlined equipment, it ran the 958 miles (1,542 km) in 16 hours, departing New York City at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and arriving at Chicago's LaSalle Street Station the following morning at 9:00 A.M. Central Time, averaging 60 miles per hour (97 km/h).
Its style was described as "spectacularly understated ... suggesting exclusivity and sophistication".:48–49 Passengers walked to the train on a crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago and was designed for the 20th Century Limited. "Getting the red carpet treatment" passed into the language from this memorable practice.]
"Mystery Train" was exhibited at The Other Art Fair in Downtown Los Angeles in March 2018 and at The Other Art Fair in Chicago in September 2018.
Size: 50 W x 60 H x 2 in
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