Since we are already experiencing snow in Madison, here is a snowy painting from the Chazen collection. Martyl Schweig Langsdorf painted this modernist scene of snow in Los Alamos, New Mexico, probably in the 1960s. Martyl accompanied her husband, the physicist Alexander Langsdorf, on many of his travels. Los Alamos was the site of a classified research laboratory built as part of the Manhattan Project and this painting may represent part of the lab or “secret city” built to house scientists and their families.
Alexander worked for the Manhattan Project, which developed the nuclear bomb. He was one of the scientists who petitioned the president asking him not to use the bomb against Japan, fearing its destructive powers.
Martyl is probably best known for creating the Doomsday Clock image for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947. The Doomsday Clock remains a symbol that warns the public how close humans are to destroying the world through dangerous technologies.
—Janine Yorimoto Boldt, Associate Curator of American Art