Sunday, October 21, 2012

1930s America's Great Depression - 1934 Public Works Art Project


Barbara Stevenson (American artist, ) Apple Vendor, 1933-34

The United States of America was in crisis as 1934 approached.

Bernice Cross (American artist, b 1912) Georgetown Corner in the Rain 1934

Art seemed irrelevant, as the national economy fell into a profound depression after the stock market crash of October 1929.

Charles L. Goeller (American artist, 1901-1985) Third Avenue, 1934

Thousands of banks failed, wiping out the life savings of millions of families.

Catherine M. Howell (American artist, b 1892) Oyster Shuckers, 1934

Farmers battled natural disasters of drought & erosion, as food prices fell.

Doulgass Crockwell (American artist, 1904-1968) Paper Workers, 1934

Businesses struggled or collapsed.

Earle Richardson (American artist, 1912-1935) Employment of Negroes in Agriculture, 1934

A quarter of the work force was unemployed, while an equal number worked reduced hours.

Gale Stockwell (Amreican artist, 1907-1983) Parkville, Main Street, 1934

More & more people were homeless & hungry.

1934 Ross Dickinson (American artist, 1903-1978) Valley Farms

Nearly 10,000 unemployed artists faced destitution.

Herman Meril (American artist, 1908-1986) Construction Work 1934

The nation looked expectantly to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was inaugurated in March 1933.

J. Theodore Johnson (American artist, 1902-1963) Chicago Interior, 1934

The new administration swiftly initiated a wide-ranging series of economic recovery programs called the New Deal.

Jara Henry Valenta (American artist, 1899-19) East River, 1934

The President realized that Americans needed not only employment but also the inspiration art could provide.

Lily Furedi (American artist, 1896-1969) Subway, 1934

On December 8, 1933, the Advisory Committee to the Treasury on Fine Arts organized the Public Works of Art Project.

Joe Jones (American artist, 1909-1963) Street Scene, St. Louis 1934

Within days, 16 regional committees were recruiting artists who eagerly set to work in all parts of America. The Public Works of Art Project paid weekly wages directly to qualified artists to create works which were then owned by the federal government.

1934 E. Dewey Albinson (American artist, 1898-1971) Northern Minnesota Mine

Between December 1933 & June 1934, the PWAP hired 3,749 artists who created 15,663 paintings, murals, sculptures, prints, drawings, & craft works.

1934 Harry W. Scheuch (American artist, 1906-1978) Workers on the Cathedral of Learning Smithsonian

The PWAP suggested “the American Scene” as appropriate subject matter, but allowed artists to interpret this idea freely.

Millard Sheets (American artist, 1907-1989) Tenement Flats, 1934

PWAP images vividly capture the realities & ideals of Depression-era America.

Nathaniel C. Burwash (American artist, 1906-2000) New York Pushcart Section no. 2 , 1934

The PWAP art displayed in schools, libraries, post offices, museums, & government buildings lifted the spirits of Americans all over the country.

Paul Kelpe (American artist, 1902-1985) Machinery Abstract #2, 1934

The success of the PWAP paved the way for later New Deal art programs, including the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project.

Nicolai Cikovsky (American artist, 1894-1984) Apple Pickers (mural study), 1934

In April 1934, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., exhibited over 500 works created under the PWAP.

Reginald Marsh (American artist, 1898-1954) Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934

President Franklin Roosevelt, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, & government officials who attended the exhibition acclaimed the art enthusiastically. The Roosevelts selected 32 paintings for the White House, while senators, representatives, & cabinet secretaries chose works to adorn their offices.

Thomas Flavell (American artist, 1906-1975) Man and Horse, 1934

During the 1960s hundreds of these PWAP paintings were transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where they open windows into the America of 1934.

1934 Charles F. Quest (American artist 1904-1993) The Builders

1934 Alexandre Hogue, Draught-Stricken Land

1934 Kenneth M. Adams (American artist, 1897-1966) Juan Duran

1934 Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area

1934 Arthur Durston (English-born American artist, 1889-1938) Industry

1934 Isaac Soyer (1902 Russia-1981 America) Art Beauty Shoppe

1934 Daniel Celentano (American artist, 1902-1980) Festival

1934 Ilya Bolotowsky, (Russian-born American artist) In the Barber Shop

1934 Gerald Sargent Foster, Racing, 1934

1934 Carl Redin (American artist, 1882-1954) At Madrid Coal Mine, New Mexico

1934 Herman Maril Sketch of Old Baltimore Waterfront

1934 Arnold Ness Klagstad Archer Daniels Midland Elevator

1934 Joseph Meert (Blegian-born American artist, 1905-1989) Surveyors

1934 Charles Sheeler (American artist, ) Connecticut Barns in Landscape

1934 Moris Kantor Baseball at Night

1934 Kenjiro Nomura The Farm

1934 Max Arthur Cohn (American artist, 1903-1998) Coal Tower

1934 John R. Grabach, The Fifth Year

1934 Leo Breslau (American artist' 1909-2005) Plowing 1934

1934 Karl Fortess (American artist, 1907-1993) Island Dock Yard

1934 Pino Janni Waterfront Scene

1934 Paul Benjamin Cross Road--Still Life

1934 Robert Brackman (American artist, 1894-1964) Somewhere in America

1934 Ray Strong (American artist, 1905-2006) Golden Gate Bridge

1934 Tyrone Comfort, Gold is Where You Find It

1934 William Arthur Cooper (American artist, 1895-1974) Lumber Industry


From The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for curating this wonderful collection of PWAP regionalist works.

    ReplyDelete