Sunday, August 14, 2016
New Deal Art: "Apple Vendor"
Above: "Apple Vendor," an oil painting by Barbara Stevenson (1912-2006), created while she was in the New Deal's Public Works of Art Project, ca. 1933-1934. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
President Franklin Roosevelt sometimes talked about apple-selling, to make a point about jobs and the economy. For example, in his 1943 State of the Union Address, speaking about soldiers returning home from the war, he said: "They do not want a postwar America which suffers from undernourishment or slums- or the dole. They want no get-rich-quick era of bogus 'prosperity' which will end for them in selling apples on a street corner, as happened after the bursting of the boom in 1929." And in a 1944 speech to the Democratic National Convention, discussing the upcoming presidential election, he said: "The people of the United States will decide this fall... whether they will entrust the task of postwar reconversion to those who offered the veterans of the last war breadlines and apple-selling and who finally led the American people down to the abyss of 1932; or whether they will leave it to those who rescued American business, agriculture, industry, finance, and labor in 1933..." (The people chose the latter, of course, and Roosevelt won his fourth presidential election.)