Monday, October 19, 2015

New Deal Art: "Paper Workers"

Above: "Paper Workers," an oil painting by Douglass Crockwell (1904-1968), created while he participated in the New Deal's Public Works of Art Project, 1934. It is noted that "By showing the workers as blocky figures that appear to be roughly carved out of wood, the artist visually likened the men to the source of the wood pulp from which they made newsprint," and "The geometric forms and dull gray colors of the men make them appear like components in the machine, and their concentration emphasizes the determination of many Americans to overcome hardships during the Depression. The suited figure on the left, however, represents the new managerial class, who controlled the men as well as the machines. His presence emphasizes the threat to hourly workers in the 1930s, as machinery grew more sophisticated and required supervisors rather than laborers." Image and quotes courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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