Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in GREAT PLAINS QUARTERLY 26:2 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


In 1939, Texas artist Alexandre Hogue completed The Crucified Land (Fig. 1), a striking comparison of water erosion on a Denton, Texas, wheat farm to the martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth. The Crucified Land was originally intended as the final canvas of Hogue's Erosion series, which the artist began in 1932 as a condemnation of the careless agricultural practices that had produced wind and water erosion in his home state. When Hogue exhibited The Crucified Land that year at the Carnegie International, the painting's provocative religious overtones drew the notice of one critic, who referred to it as the latest in a "series of sermons on conservation." The anonymous critic, though brief in his or her assessment of the painting, rightly acknowledged the conflation of religious morality and ecological principles in the painting. Despite this observation, there has been scant critical examination of Hogue's relationship to ecological thought or his application of religious ideals to the painting.