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Save BIG on Cord-FREE Snow Shovel

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ring this stay, the extreme weather and storms of the prairies inspired Curry to paint Tornado over Kansas, which he finished by fall of 1929. Curry's widow stated he had never witnessed a tornado in person, but he was likely familiar with accounts of tornadoes' destructive power. Photographs of a June 2, 1929, tornado passing through Hardtner, Kansas, were the first to clearly capture a tornado's shape and likely served as visual guidance for Curry's tornado in Tornado over Kansas. The funnel shape seen in one photograph closely resembles that of the painting's tornado, and another photograph of the tornado approaching a barn is believed to have inspired the painting's compositional layout.

Storms and tornadoes were not new to Curry; such natural disasters had frightened him ever since he was a child. He said that Tornado over Kansas was based on early life experiences when his family "used to beat it for the cellar before the storm hit." The art historian Irma Jaffe posited that Curry's Christian religious upbringing led to his construing natural disasters as signs of God's punishment. Thus, Jaffe saw Tornado over Kansas as one of Curry's attempts at controlling his fears through artistic expression.

Natural disasters are a common motif in Curry's art. He sketched the ruins of Winchester, Kansas, following a May 1930 tornado, and made watercolors of horses panicked by lightning, an Oklahoma dust storm, and the aftermath of floods along the Kansas River during the summers of 1929 and 1930. Curry's 1929 painting Storm over Lake Otsego was painted shortly after Tornado over Kansas, and has figures comparable to those of its predecessor. His 1930 work After the Tornado depicts an unharmed and smiling doll seated in a chair amid the wreck of a house recently destroyed by a tornado. In 1932, Curry produced a series of lithographs known as The Tornado, which show a family taking shelter from a coming storm. One impression from the set was sold for $13,750 in 2020, while others are held by museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Curry's 1934 landscape Line Storm contains a cloud system similar to that in Torna
 do over Kansas. Furthermore, a tornado reappears behind the abolitionist John Brown in the painter's 1937–1942 mural Tragic Prel

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