Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Deal Art: A Patriotic Montage

Above: According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this patriotic montage was painted by Walter Beach Humphrey (1892-1966), while he was in the WPA's Federal Art Project. The dates given are ca. 1933-1943, but we know that the Federal Art Project did not begin until the latter part of 1935. Also, the plane shown is a B-24 Liberator, which apparently entered service around 1940. So, it's likely that the painting was made while Humphrey was in the "WPA Art Program," the office that coordinated art projects after the Federal Art Project was terminated in 1939; or perhaps even the New Deal's Section of Fine Arts (which had its genesis in the U.S. Treasury in 1934, and ended up in the Public Buildings Administration, 1939-1943). In any event, it's certainly an elaborate piece. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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