“The Rocket”, by Middleton Manigault (American, 1887 – 1976)
1909. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24. 1981.009
Columbus Museum of Art
Middleton Manigault was a member of the emerging Modernist movement in America. This scene was probably inspired by the many displays of fireworks that were staged along the Hudson River, in the autumn of 1909, to honor both the discovery of the river by Henry Hudson in 1609 and the first navigation of the river by a steamboat, Robert Fulton’s Clermont, in 1807. In this work, separate strokes of brilliant color convey the intense visual impact of a shower of fireworks over the river. A painting of great vibrancy and distinct originality, this work demonstrates the power of Manigault’s imagination and his instincts for color, which he derived from post- Impressionism in the early years of his career.