Image courtesy of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport

Image courtesy of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport

A collection of artwork featuring John Deere tractors opens this weekend in Davenport.

About 90 years ago, Chicago artist Walter Haskell Hinton was commissioned by Quad Cities-based Deere and Company to “humanize the tractor” in his paintings.

Thirty-five of those paintings are on display at the Figge Art Museum.

Figge executive director Tim Schiffer says Deere hired Hinton at a very emotional time for farmers, as they were replacing their work horses with tractors.

“They were trading them in for this machine that really was new technology and it was thought of as kind of heartless,” Schiffer says. “Hinton’s job was to make the green tractor look like it was part of the family.”

The exhibit is called “Walter Haskell Hinton – Image Maker for Deere,” and it’ll be on display at the Figge until February.

Schiffer says many of Hinton’s paintings were used for calendars in the 1930s and 40s. He sees hints of both Norman Rockwell and Grant Wood in Hinton’s works.

The paintings are on loan from the Deere and Company art collection.