American Art During The Great Depression

723 WordsNov 2, 20153 Pages
American Art during the Great Depression and before World War II sought to rebrand and rebuild a broken and desperate nation. In colonies around the country, artists banded together to study and support one another, and U.S. government programs of the WPA, FAP, and FSA provided opportunities for artists to create public works on a scale never seen before in this country. Like the LDS Church Welfare program begun at the same time, these art initiatives revived the individual’s dignity in the form of opportunity. The public, too, wanted new art that reflected the turmoil of the country. The nation was hurting, and from this crucible of suffering emerged a body of artwork that documented the common man and woman—rural and urban, North and South, the haves and the have-nots. Distinct from the romanticized landscapes of the frontier and portraits of wealthy Easterners that proceeded the period, this was art that mattered: it was aimed squarely to uplift and ennoble a battered public. One of the WPA-era artists of distinction, whose award-winning paintings and prints were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery, New York World’s Fair, Whitney Museum of American Art, and in galleries in New York, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, San Francisco, and is now in the permanent collections of the National Gallery, the Smithsonian, Carnegie Museum of Art, and St. Louis Art Museum, among others, is Joseph Paul Vorst. He was born in Essen, Germany in 1897, the son of a
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