Aaron Henry Gorson was captivated by the industrial elements of urbanity, which provided the subject matter for some of his best known paintings of which Portrait of a Steel Mill, Pennsylvania is a classic example. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 1903 to find a city at its height as a world manufacturing center. The landscape was riddled with coal, steel and iron mills, which the artist immediately gravitated towards, depicting them in a Whistlerian fashion until he left the city in 1921. As seen in Portrait of a Steel Mill, Pennsylvania , these works are rarely mere documentations of the place, rather they are dramatic and painterly scenes, which are often punctuated with brilliant flashes of light and spurts of steam. Portrait of a Steel Mill, Pennsylvania captures the powerful presence of industry not only in burgeoning Pittsburgh, but also in America in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.