Looking Forward to Trains that Passed in the Night: Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link

Published on: December 10, 2013

Hawksbill-SwimmingHole.jpgO. Winston Link was one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century.  And he likely would have enjoyed a visit to the Grohmann Museum, as he spent his career photographing many of the same themes depicted in the paintings and bronzes in the Museum’s collection.  Link was captivated by factory complexes, industrial interiors, and the steam locomotive.  So are we.


Link distilled these scenes into engaging photos of mid-century America.  For Link, the steam railroad was not just a means of moving goods and people from point to point.  Rather, he viewed it as a vital ingredient of the ‘good life’ in America; essential threading in the fabric of our lives.  In viewing machinery and engineering marvels, he was really viewing human life, progress and achievement.  This, of course, is the essence of what we do at the Grohmann Museum. That is, viewing life through the lens of occupation and identity.


We are fortunate to have forged a partnership with the Center for Railroad Photography and Art (Madison, WI) in our efforts to bring new and interesting exhibitions to the Museum, to MSOE, and to Milwaukee.  It is through their kind cooperation that we are able to host this exhibition of Link’s photos.  The show will feature 36 original, signed prints from the Artist’s collection and will open with a Gallery Night presentation (January 17th@7pm) by Thomas Garver, longtime friend and former assistant to O. Winston Link.


Trains that Passed in the Night is yet another in a line of world-class exhibitions presented at the Grohmann during our brief history.  It joins Requiem for Steam, Working Wisconsin, Milwaukee Mills, Bridges: The Spans of North America, Great Lakers, and many others in our list of outstanding feature exhibitions.


Despite a dearth in Museum coverage from Milwaukee’s only daily newspaper, we continue to present fresh and compelling exhibits worthy of display in any museum or gallery.  And yes, we still hear “I never heard of this museum, it’s a hidden gem” from a number of our patrons.  However, we hear it less as we continue to gain traction in the local, regional, and national arts communities.  While we may still be considered the ‘new’ museum in town, we can also be considered among the best.


It is for these reasons, among many others, that we are very much looking forward to the New Year and to Trains that Passed in the Night.

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JoEllen Burdue JoEllen Burdue
Director of Media Relations
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