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Painting – 1930s

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  1. Painting – 1930s • Federal Programs for the Arts • Funding of art in post offices, schools and court houses • Artists – tend to lean left, support working class • John Reed Clubs • Artists’ Union (1934) • Art Front – Artists’ Union journal (1934-1937) • Some see cause as class struggle against capitalism • Some push for unions, not socialism • Most want federal art programs

  2. Public Works of Art Project (PWAP - 1933) – Treasury Dept. • Replaced by Section of Painting and Sculpture in the Treasury Dept. (1934) • Joins (1935) with Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) and the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (FAP/WPA) is created • As of 1935 – Treasury Section and FAP/WPA • FAP/WPA – from 1935-1943, employs 1000s of artists – painters, sculptors • Holger Cahill, director • Influenced by John Dewey • Art for all Americans, art “distinctly American” • Artists received weekly wage (3-5,000 employed) • Preference for representational, narrative art

  3. Treasury Section (not a relief organization – TRAP is) • Edward Bruce, director • Artists compete for work in federal buildings • Work approved ahead of time and monitored • Funds most murals, though FAP/WPA funds some • Spent $2.5 million, created 1,100 murals, 300 sculptures • Face greater restrictions • Given themes – local history, local industries, local flora and fauna, local pursuits, hunting and fishing, recreational activities • Nudity and poverty prohibited, slavery largely excluded • Native Americans often depicted • Realism not stipulated, but expected • Regionalism/Social Realism

  4. Farm Security Administration (first called Resettlement Administration) • Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, etc. • Mexican Muralists • Jose Orozco, David Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera • Many murals throughout US address concerns of many US intellectuals and artists in early 30s

  5. Rivera, Detroit Industry (South – 1932-1933)

  6. Philip Evergood (1901-1973) • President of Artists’ Union, works in FAP • Powerful depictions of struggles between workers and industrialists

  7. Evergood, American Tragedy (1937)

  8. Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) • Parks, the Circus, the Klan, the Press (1933) • The Social History of the State of Missouri (1936)

  9. John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) • Tragic Prelude (1940)