Sheldon Museum of Art Main Content

Morris, Bench

Bench, Cahow’s Barbershop, Chapman, Nebraska1947Gelatin silver print7 7/16 × 9 7/16U-5110.2000University of Nebraska–Lincoln, gift of Josephine Morris, through the University of Nebraska FoundationBench, Cahow’s Barbershop, Chapman, Nebraska by Wright Morris Wright MorrisA native Nebraskan, Wright Morris devoted his career to evoking the experience of life on the Great Plains through pictures and text. In this image, the artist focuses tightly on the bench in the barbershop, producing a record of particular time and place. The printed wall calendars show that the date is May 1947, while their advertisements for corn and hybrid seed suggest a rural environment. At the same time, the five-pointed star that embellishes the back of the wood bench—a common motif in colonial architecture and woodworking that was revived at the beginning of the 20th century—indicates early residents’ efforts at refinement. A particular favorite among early Dutch colonists, the decoration hints at the many nationalities that settled the Great Plains. American 19101998Mill Valley, CACentral City, NE