Cement Factory, Hudson River
Industry has existed along the Hudson since Colonial times, but the Hudson River School and later nineteenth-century artists most often chose to ignore it and paint an “unspoiled” view of nature. This subject is also rare in Joellyn Duesberry’s work. She was likely responding to the growing concern and activism in the 1980s over the pollution caused by cement factories on the river.
Except for this work and several paintings of Ground Zero, Duesberry tended to paint nature landscapes in a brighter palette and mood. Here, the grey tones of a cloudy day seem appropriate to the somber sight of a factory reflected in the river it is destroying. She completed Cement Factory before she began to live most of the year in Colorado, though she maintained a studio upstate and painted many New York scenes, including near Olana, the home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church.