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Angel's Flight, 1931

Millard Sheets

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. L. M. Maitland (32.17), © Millard Sheets Estate

Oil on canvas, 50 1/4 x 40 in.

In 1901 an electric cable-car railway known as Angels Flight was constructed in Los Angeles to transport people up the steep hill to an observation tower. Regionalist artist Millard Sheets, who worked in the city, depicted the working-class neighborhood in which Angels Flight was placed through bright colors, an emphasis on diagonals in the composition, and a vertiginous perspective. Sheets purposefully omitted the cable car, instead illustrating residents on an arduous climb up a winding staircase.