University Museums

Title: For the Pioneer's Club-Des Moines
Name: Print
Date: 1932
Medium: photoetching
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: 8 7/8 x 6 3/4 in. (22.5 x 17.1 cm)
Classification: Prints and Printing Plates
Credit Line: Gift of the J. N. "Ding" Darling Foundation. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM82.175
More Information
As white settlement spread across the United States, people perceived these landscapes to be endless, untamed, boundless and uncultivated until the farmer and plow produced bountiful crops. This romantic version of nature as immense and eternal began to evaporate. Darling's print highlights the undisturbed environment and sends a cautionary message that human habitation impacts and alters the natural environment. In this image human migration poetically parallels bird migration, each seeking a renewed environment in which to settle, reproduce and thrive.

A pioneer family pauses on the crest of a hill overlooking a broad river valley. The towering cumulus clouds and the endless vista create a vast sense of space which is emphasized by the individual grasses in the foreground. The migrating birds overhead are a visual parallel to the journeying family. This pioneer image is related to "untitled (Iowa as man found it)", although the two landscapes are different. The V-formation of the ducks is found in both works of art. Darling also used the pioneer family with covered wagon in several cartoons. Darling titled this print "For the Pioneer's Club" but the Polk County men's organization has no record of it.