Chicago, Illinois. In the waiting room of the Union Station

by Jack Delano

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Artist Statement

While on assignment from the Farm Security Administration to document the changing railroad industry, Jack Delano arrived in Chicago’s Union Station, one of the biggest transportation hubs in the country. This iteration of Union Station—the second to be built in that location—opened not even twenty years before Delano came to photograph it in early 1943. The station was designed by renowned architect Daniel Burnham, who famously said, “Make no small plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood”. His quote certainly stands true for Union Station, which was hailed upon its opening as an outstanding achievement in railroad facility planning, and as one of the great interior public spaces of the United States. Its Great Hall, what Delano refers to as “the waiting room”, was designed in the ornate Beaux-Arts style, with massive wooden benches arranged in the room for travelers to rest on while waiting for connections.

Though the space itself was beautiful, only someone with an exceptionally gifted photographer's eye could capture it so stunningly. Delano’s background in painting served him well throughout his time at the FSA, but it comes across especially clearly in this striking image of Union Station. Ordinary commuters are elevated to actors in a impressive play, spears of light dramatically penetrating the scene and outlining or spotlighting them. Delano was not only capturing the railroad industry—he was making photographs of a nation in the middle of war. The prominence of the arrows in the foreground, the hallowed feeling of the light, seem to outline an optimistic future for the common man waiting below.

Details

+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by our head curator is included
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.

Medium:

Innova Fibaprint Warm Cotton Gloss

Edition Structure:
8"x8" | edition of 20
11"x11" | edition of 100
16"x16" | edition of 50
24"x24" | edition of 10

Jack Delano

Jack Delano, born Jacob Ovcharov in a small village in Ukraine (then Russian Empire) in 1914, made images that focused on the honesty and dignity of the Everyman. “To do justice to the subject has always been my main concern,” he wrote in his autobiography, a goal that made him a perfect fit for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photography program. Hired in 1940, Delano quickly became known for his striking compositions and sensitivity to his subjects. His wife Irene later said, "I just don't think there was a time that [Jack] worked for Farm Security that he just wasn't completely absorbed in... Read More
it, and felt that we were performing a great mission." Like many of the FSA photographers—including Marion Post Wolcott and Dorothea Lange—Delano traveled the United States documenting Americana in all its forms. As part of the FSA project, Delano traveled to Puerto Rico in 1941. He fell in love with the region and settled there permanently in 1946. He and his wife Irene worked in the Community Division of the Department of Public Education while living there, producing films (for many of which Delano composed the score). He passed away in Puerto Rico in 1997 at the age of 83.  
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