American Pastoral - CODAworx

American Pastoral

Submitted by Roberta Condon

Client: Rahr West Museum

Location: Manitowoc , WI, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $26,000

Project Team


Greg Vadney

Rahr West Museum


Diana Bolander

Rahr West Museum

Commercial Artist

Lorraine Ortner-Blake

Lorraine Ortner-Blake


Roberta Condon

R. Condon Gallery


American Pastoral consists of 26 soft pastel paintings on sanded paper approximately 32 x 40 framed. Each painting represents a letter of the alphabet and discusses the beauty of the Midwest agrarian landscape, and discusses the reasons behind the loss of the family farm.
American Pastoral has been touring the country for 2 years, and has been featured in museums and galleries across the Midwest. The show is accompanied by a book, and product such as prints and cards available in the bookshop. An artist talk features the painting of the series, and discusses the reasons behind the loss.


I have painted approximately 40 paintings in this series, and while I wanted to educate about the loss of the family farm, and what we can do to support our farmers, I also want to highlight the beauty of our agrarian landscape. The paintings are restful, and perfectly suited to offices, hospitals, and homes. It would be my preference to sell all 26 paintings as a unit, but they are available individually. The beauty of the work brought in people from a different political viewpoint, but my artist talk, and experience painting the series was successful in producing a meeting of the minds despite political differences.


The pieces I painted were a collaboration with another artist to show a total of 52 paintings, and provide a complete picture of small family farms and the agrarian lifestyle in the Midwest. I have literally brought farmers to tears when I showed them my pieces, and brought people into galleries that normally wouldn't attend shows. My artist talk and the book that accompanies the series discusses all the experiences I had with the farmers and animals I was photographing.

Additional Information

The painting and story behind this work resonated with so many the project was published in The Pastel Journal, and made it all the way across the ocean to a French publication Le Practique d'Arte. The show has toured in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. We all love our farmers, and most of us in our fifties and sixties has a direct connection for farm life somewhere in our background. It was an honor to work on this project.