The artists of the Great Depression were some of the most talented and creative people of their time. Many of them found themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet during the 1930s. However, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped to support the arts by commissioning artists to create public artworks. These artists of the great depression produced some of the most iconic pieces of artwork from the 1930s.
12 Great Depression Artists You Should Know
1. Thomas Hart Benton
Benton was a painter and muralist artists of the great depression who was commissioned by the WPA to create several murals. His murals depicted American scenes and history, and helped to promote regionalism in art.
2. Grant Wood
Wood is best-known for his painting American Gothic, which was created with support from the WPA. He also created a number of other iconic paintings during the 1930s.
3. Georgia O’Keeffe
O’Keeffe was a well-known painter artist of the great depression who is credited with helping to establish American modernism. She received support from the WPA to create several paintings, including her famous work Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue.
4. Ben Shahn
Shahn was a painter and photographer who created political artworks for the WPA. Many of his works focused on the struggles of working class Americans during the Great Depression.
5. Walker Evans
Evans was a photographer who documented life in America during the Great Depression. He worked for the Farm Security Administration (part of the WPA), and his photographs offer a unique perspective on the era.
6. Diego Rivera
Rivera was a Mexican painter who created several controversial murals for the WPA. His murals depicted scenes of American life and labor, and often stirred up controversy among the public.
7. Josef Albers
Albers was a German artist who immigrated to America in 1933. He taught at Black Mountain College, where he helped to establish the Bauhaus movement in America. He also created a number of paintings for the WPA.
8. Edward Hopper
Hopper was an American painter who is best known for his depictions of American life and architecture. He received support from the WPA to create several paintings, including his famous work Nighthawks.
9. John Steuart Curry
Curry was a painter and muralist artists of the great depression who created works about American life and history. He also received support from the WPA to create several murals, including his famous painting The County Agent.
10. Aaron Douglas
Douglas was a painter and muralist who focused on depicting African-American life and culture. He was one of the first artists to receive support from the WPA’s Negro Arts Project.
11. Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder was one of the most famous artists of the 1930s. He was commissioned by the WPA to create a large mobile sculpture for the lobby of the Philadelphia Post Office. The sculpture, named “The Philadelphian”, was completed in 1934 and is now on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Calder’s sculptures are known for their whimsical and playful nature. They often incorporate movement and sound, which makes them a popular attraction for visitors. Many of his works are on public display, including several pieces at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
12. Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell was an American Artists of the Great Depression who is best known for his paintings and illustrations. He was born in 1894 and began working as a freelance illustrator in the 1920s. He became popular with the American public through his covers for the Saturday Evening Post. His paintings from the 1930s often depicted everyday life in America and are remembered for their warmth and humor. Some of his most famous works include “Rosie the Riveter” and “The Problem We All Live With”.
Artists of the Great Depression
Artists in the Great Depression significantly impacted American art. Over 10,000 artists were employed by the federal government in the 1930s as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create art around the country in various media, including murals and theatre, fine arts, and music. Keep reading this article to know more about artists of the great depression and art during the Great Depression!
The 11 most iconic artworks from the Great Depression
During the Great Depression, many artists found themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet. However, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped to support the arts by commissioning artists to create public artworks. These artists of the great depression produced some of the most iconic pieces of artwork from the 1930s. Here are 11 of the most iconic artworks from the Great Depression:
1. “Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange
This famous photograph captures a mother and her children during the Great Depression. The mother has a weary expression on her face, as she struggles to provide for her family. This photograph is a poignant reminder of the struggles faced by millions of Americans during the Great Depression.
2. “The Great Depression” by Grant Wood
This painting is a representation of the Great Depression. It shows an American farmer looking dejectedly at his failed crops. The painting is a stark reminder of the hardships faced by Americans during the 1930s.
3. “The Three Musicians” by Pablo Picasso
This painting is one of Picasso’s most famous works. It portrays three musicians in a bleak and impoverished setting. The painting is a representation of the struggles that artists faced during the Great Depression.
4. “American Gothic” by Grant Wood
This painting is another iconic work from the Great Depression. It depicts an American farmer and his daughter standing in front of their home. The painting was controversial when it was first released, as some people felt that it was critical of American values. However, it is now recognized as a masterpiece of American art.
5. “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper
This painting is one of Hopper’s most famous works. It portrays a group of people in a diner late at night. The painting is a representation of the isolation and loneliness that artists often felt during the Great Depression.
6. “The New York School” by Caroline Durieux
Her most famous painting, “The New York School,” is a mural that she created for the WPA in 1936. The mural is located in the lobby of the Municipal Building in New York City. It depicts artists and intellectuals from the New York School, including Dadaist Marcel Duchamp and poet e.e. cummings.
Durieux’s work is a reminder that even during the Great Depression, artists were still creating beautiful and inspiring works of art.
7. “The Depression Series” by Ben Shahn
Ben Shahn was a painter and graphic artists of the great depression who was born in Lithuania. He moved to the United States in 1906 and became a citizen in 1924. He is best-known for his paintings and prints from the 1930s, which depict the effects of the Great Depression on American society.
One of his most famous series of paintings is called “The Depression Series.” The series consists of twelve paintings, each of which represents a different aspects of the Great Depression. The paintings are powerful and emotional depictions of the struggles that Americans were facing at the time.
Shahn’s work is a reminder that art can be a powerful tool for documenting and depicting social injustice.
8. “The Brooklyn Bridge” by Joseph Stella
“The Brooklyn Bridge” is a painting by Joseph Stella that was created in 1920. The painting is a dramatic and iconic depiction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Stella was born in Italy, but he moved to the United States in 1906. He is best-known for his paintings of American cities, which capture the energy and vibrancy of urban life.
“The Brooklyn Bridge” is one of his most famous paintings.
The painting was created at a time when the Brooklyn Bridge was a symbol of hope and progress for New York City. It was the first bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it represented the beginning of a new era for the city.
9. “Manhattan Bridge Night View” by Louis Lozowick
“Manhattan Bridge Night View” is a painting by Louis Lozowick an artists of the great depression that was created in 1932. The painting is a nighttime view of the Manhattan Bridge. Lozowick was born in Russia, but he moved to the United States in 1922. He is best-known for his paintings of industrial landscapes.
“Manhattan Bridge Night View” is one of his most famous paintings.
The painting was created at a time when the Manhattan Bridge was a symbol of hope and progress for New York City. It was the first bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it represented the beginning of a new era for the city.
10. “We’re in the Money” by Stuart Davis
Stuart Davis was a painter and graphic artist who was born in Philadelphia. He is best-known for his paintings and prints from the 1930s, which depict the effects of the Great Depression on American society.
One of his most famous series of paintings is called “We’re in the Money.” The series consists of six paintings, each of which depicts a different aspect of American consumer culture during the 1930s. The paintings are colorful and vibrant depictions of the optimism and energy that Americans were feeling at the time.
11. “New York at Night” by Arthur Gromme
Arthur Gromme was a painter and photographer who was born in Germany. He moved to the United States in 1924 and became a citizen in 1937. He is best-known for his paintings and photographs of urban landscapes.
“New York at Night” is a painting by Arthur Gromme that was created in 1932. The painting is a nighttime view of New York City.
The Great Depression
Between 1929 and 939, the US and the rest of the globe were in the midst of severe economic depression. The “Black Thursday” stock market meltdown of October 24, 1929 was caused by high stock prices that were out of rhythm with production and customer demand for goods. The severity of the market recession impacted all Americans. Unemployment and poverty were two of the most apparent repercussions of the Great Recession.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Do you know what the WPA was? The Works Progress Administration was a relief program created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. The goal of the program was to provide jobs for artists, writers, and musicians during the Great Depression. One of the most famous projects funded by the WPA was the Federal Art Program, which sponsored public art projects across the country.
Federal Art Project
For the administration of community art and federal art commissions centers, Roosevelt set up the Federal Art Project in 1935. Roosevelt believed that the arts were essential to the well-being of the American people and the health of our republic. He firmly thought that the arts aided in resiliency and a sense of national pride in American history and culture.
To an even more comprehensive range of people, it opened up the arts to those who might not otherwise have encountered a fine arts work in person, never met a professional artist, or attempted their creative endeavors. Both hardships of the time and a brighter future had shown in government-federal art. Common topics included food shortages, unemployment, and ruined farms.
Encourages Writers and Artists
The Roosevelt administration encourages writers and artists to learn about American history and contemporary affairs. In the United States, federal funding for the arts was uncommon. Some people in Germany and the United States, notably during the 1930s, feel this was owing to public suspicion that governments would use culture or the media to control public opinion.
These events were especially prevalent during Nazi torchlight parades and absolute control of German radio and media. There were four major WPA initiatives successfully implemented by New Deal Roosevelt’s government between 1935 and 1939, which resulted in thousands of previously jobless artists, architects, and educators finding work in American museums due to the New Deal art programs.
Federal Theatre Project (FTP)
The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was a New Deal program that supported the arts by funding theater productions. The FTP was created in 1935 and lasted until 1939.
The FTP helped to provide jobs for artists and support for theater productions. It also helped to increase morale during the Great Depression. Some of the most famous theater productions from the 1930s were funded by the FTP, including Orson Welles’s production of Julius Caesar and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
Musicians, writers, painters, and performers, we’re expected to think more critically as part of the New Deal’s rationale for supporting their creative endeavors. Because of this, the Federal Theatre Project performances weren’t staged on Broadway but rather in small towns where most of the populace had never seen a play before.
Federal Writers’ Project (FWP)
The Federal Writers’ Project was a New Deal program that helped to provide jobs for artists and writers. It began in 1935, funding projects until 1939 when it closed due World War II ( WWII). This organization provided much needed support during The Great Depression by creating employment opportunities as well giving emotional uplift through their writing efforts which increased morale across the country
Many interviews with blue-collar workers, small farmers, fishers, and miners are conducted by the Federal Writers’ Project, which publishes volumes on each state’s history, culture, and folklore. If we talk about the Federal music Project, the Federal Music Project transcribes music for free events. Sea chanteys, cowboy folk melodies, Indian dances, Quaker hymns, and Negro spirituals have all been lost to time.
How did artists survive the Great Depression?
How did artists manage to survive during the Great Depression? Many people may not realize that artists of the great depression were some of the hardest hit by this devastating time period. Despite this, some managed to find a way to continue creating art, and even thrive during these tough times.
Many of them turned to illustration, creating beautiful and often whimsical images that helped people escape the hard times they were living through. This exhibition features some of the best work from that era, providing a unique look into how these artists used their creativity to get through one of the toughest times in history.
When Harry Hopkins, the director of New Deal’s jobs program was asked by Congress to explain why artists and writers were being employed through his organization he replied that it was because they needed food just like everyone else. He went on record saying “We have torn down many barriers for those fields”
Artists Found Themselves Out of Work and Struggling
One of the main reasons why artists found themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression was because of the financial instability of the time period. With so many people out of work, there wasn’t a lot of money to go around, and artists were often at the bottom of the totem pole. Additionally, many people believed that art was a frivolous luxury, and that it wasn’t worth investing in during tough times like the Great Depression.
The WPA’s Federal Art Project employed contemporary artists who produced over 100,000 works of modern art and murals and more than 18,000 sculptures, all of which can be found in public buildings, school systems, and hospitals throughout the 48 contiguous states. WPA artists such as Dorothea Lange, Jackson Pollock, and Walker Evans produced famous works reflecting the U.S during the time, as did other painters like Jacob Lawrence and Aaron Douglas.
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that took place in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s. The movement was marked by the increased visibility of African American artists and intellectuals. It was a time of resurgence of African American arts and culture. The artists of the Harlem Renaissance were greatly influenced by the Blues and Jazz music of the time. They produced some of the most iconic pieces of artwork of the 20th century.
The Harlem Community Art Center
The Harlem Community Art Center was an important arts center during the Great Depression. It was founded in 1935 by artists William H. Johnson and Charles Alston. The center provided a space for artists to come together, share their work, and learn from each other. The center also offered classes in painting, sculpture, and other arts disciplines. Many prominent artists of the time, including Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Aaron Douglas, studied or exhibited at the Harlem Community Art Center.
Famous artists of the Harlem Renaissance
They produced some of the most iconic pieces of artwork, and helped to redefine American art. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of great creativity and optimism, and the artists of the time captured that spirit in their artwork.
These artists were incredibly influential in shaping American culture during the 1930s. They helped to redefine what it meant to be an artist, and they advocated for social change. Their work is still celebrated today.
- – Langston Hughes
- – Jacob Lawrence
- – Romare Bearden
- – Archibald Motley
- – Aaron Douglas
The Great Depression Led to Incredible Artwork
The Great Depression was a time of immense hardship for many people in the United States. However, it also led to the creation of some incredible artwork. This artwork is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the American people. I invite you to explore some of this amazing art and see for yourself how it reflects the spirit of the times.
To Sum it Up
In response to the Great Depression, many artists emerged who captured the feel of the times. Their art provides a unique perspective into life during that difficult time. In this post, we summarized some of the most famous artists of the Great Depression. Keep in mind that this is just a brief overview
Frequently Asked Questions
Did art flourish during the Great Depression?
As a result of exceptional assistance from the government and open cultural activities for the first time, musicians, authors, pop stars, artists, dancers, and actors were all able to thrive during the New Deal.
What was the most famous art style during the Great Depression?
Artists were expected to interact in the discussion over aesthetic art styles because of the financial stress of the Great Depression. These were the most famous artists of the 1930s who painted nostalgic images of American life in rural areas.
How was art affected by the Great Depression?
Artworks depicted the world around them in various ways throughout the Great Depression. They were also influenced by the urban core, music, and the artwork of other artists, such as the expressionists.
How did the Great Depression affect literature?
During the depths of the Great Depression, a slew of brilliant writers rose to prominence in literature. Blowing with the Wind and The Grapes of Wrath show the average man persisting under challenging circumstances before depression struck, a common subject in works published throughout this period.
How did the WPA support artists during the New Deal?
Public places have “American scene” paintings and inspirational posters produced by local artists. Statuary was erected by sculptors, while performers and singers put on shows. The Federal art project developed more than 100 community art centers across the country. Only a tiny portion of WPA funds was allocated to the Federal Art Project.
Why we love arts and crafts?
Why we love arts and crafts? We love arts and crafts beacause they are enjoyed by people of all ages. For kids, crafts can be a fun and creative way to spend an afternoon. For adults crafting can be a relaxing hobby or a chance to express their creativity. Arts and crafts can also be used to DIY projects around the house or to create decor for your home.
Arts can be as simple as painting a picture or as complicated as building a piece of furniture. No matter what your skill level, there is an arts and craft project that is perfect for you. So why not try your hand at arts and crafts today? You might just find that you have a hidden talent for artful creation!
Conclusion on the Artists of the Great Depression
As we have seen, the artists of the Great Depression were incredibly creative and innovative in their work. They found ways to express their emotions and tell stories through their paintings, sculptures, and writing. While times were tough, these artists refused to give up or be silenced. If you like more articles like this and would like to know more about the artists of the Great Depression, please comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts!
If you like this article about Artists of the Great Depression and would like to know more, please comment below.
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