Breaking Home Ties stood out among the diverse paintings assembled for the fair’s exhibition of contemporary American art, a display that, according to the art historian Carolyn Kinder Carr, showcased “a wide range of styles, schools, and subject matter.” The literature scholar Mark Simpson has argued that the exposition “epitomized” a “habitual, even hegemonic” cultural discourse that “treated mobility as the key to national temperament.” This discourse bound “two traits supposedly intrinsic to ‘the American’: the need to move and the need to rise. Geographic mobility was not only an essential theme guiding the fair’s conception, it was also a reality for the millions of visitors who came from near and far to experience the exposition. Breaking Home Ties invited viewers to consider mobility’s effects at the level of family drama. Even before the fair, the view that the ordinary American who left home to seek opportunity represented the heart of the nation informed commentators’ interpretations of the painting.