Subway Verses the Tube Train

Subway and The Tube Train George Tooker, an American artist painted “Subway” in 1950. Cyril E. Power, a British artist, created “The Tube Train” in 1934. With a quick glimpse of the eye, one may think these two pieces of artwork are similar. After all, a subway and a tube train are basically the same thing. To a trained eye, one can see the many differences in the two pieces. Tooker was associated with the Magic Realism movements, and is best known for his depictions of alienation in modern city life (Artnet).

Tooker focused on urban loneliness and disillusionment. His subjects are often obscured by heavy clothing and appear sagging and shapeless, trapped within their own dull worlds (Leninimports). Tooker adopted a method of using egg yolk thickened slightly with water and then adding powered pigment, a medium that was quick drying, tedious to apply, and hard to change once applied, called egg tempers (Leninimports). “Subway” depicts office workers trapped in a maze of prision-like passageways (Artnet).

The central figure in “Subway” is a middle aged woman with short, gray hair, cut and curled in the style of 1950s (Whitney). Her facial expression is fearful, appears anxious, and looks depressed. Tooker paints her in midstride as she walks toward an unseen destination. She is wearing a bright red dress. The surroundings are dark and dull and of neutral colors. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the woman because of the positioning of the other figures in the painting and because the walls and railings of the subway create a fanlike effect around her (Whitney).

The other female figures in the painting are in the distance and hard to be seen by the eye. The men in the painting are threatening figures who lurk in the background, wearing long coats, all identical except for the color (Whitney). Some of the men are looking suspiciously around the walls of the booths at the woman. The woman wears red, white, and blue which may symbolize the desperate desire of American women in the 1950s to become more modern and independent (Whitney). Power was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1925.

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That same year he helped set up Grosvenor School of Modern Art. It was here where he learned about lino cutting (Lenimports). Linocut is a printmaking technique where a design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, with the raised areas representing a mirror image of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller and then pressed onto paper or fabric. Power’s work was generally printed in color, with separate blocks for each color of ink (Nydam). “The Tube Train” is made of four colors, yellow, red, light blue, and dark blue.

It is a representation of life in London as workers go home on the underground train. The seated rider’s heads are buried in newspapers. A few people are standing in the front of the train. Both men and women are seen in the print. The viewer is looking down the isle of the train, as if they are sitting in the back. This print is an example of a one point perspective. They print also uses a lot of repetition. The deiling design is repeated is all the ceiling tiles. All the seated riders are holding a newspaper. The men on the train are all wearing hats.

One can now see how a quick look at a piece of artwork can be deceiving. Although the subject matter of art may be alike, the fine details, which give art its true meaning, can differ greatly from one piece to another. http://www. leninimports. com/cyril_e_power. html http://www. leninimports. com/george_tooker. html http://whitney. org/Education/Teens/RaidTheMuseum? GeorgeTookerByVita3052 http://www. artnet. com/artists/george-tooker/ http://nydamprintsblackandwhite. blogspot. com/2011/05/cyril-powers-tube-train. html http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html

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