The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, April 18, 2014


"1934: A New Deal for Artists" exhibition opens at the New York State Museum in Albany
Agnes Tait, Skating in Central Park, 1934, oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor.
ALBANY, NY.- A new exhibition -- 1934: A New Deal for Artists -- opened at the New York State Museum on October 19 showcasing paintings created against the backdrop of the Great Depression with the support of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the first federal government program to support the arts nationally.

Open until Jan. 20, 2013 in West Gallery, 1934: A New Deal for Artists is organized and circulated by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with support from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Fund and the Smithsonian Council for American Art. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the Museum's traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a "new deal for the American people," initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt's pledge to help "the forgotten man" also embraced America's artists. The Public Works of Art Project lasted only six months, from mid-December 1933 to June 1934. Its purpose was to alleviate the distress of professional unemployed American artists by paying them to capture "the American Scene" in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Artists painted regional, recognizable subjects — ranging from portraits, to cityscapes and images of city life, to landscapes and depictions of rural life — that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism.

“This exhibition is very timely, opening in an election year when Americans are again grappling with questions about what course the nation should take as it struggles to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, “said State Museum Director Mark Schaming. “We think visitors will be inspired as they see this outstanding artwork that bears witness to this New Deal cultural program.”

The exhibition began a national tour in 2010 celebrating the 75th anniversary of the PWAP by drawing on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s unparalleled collection of vibrant paintings created for the program. The 55 paintings in the exhibition are a lasting visual record of America at a specific moment in time.

Artists from across the United States who participated in the program were encouraged to depict “the American Scene,” but they were allowed to interpret this idea freely. They painted regional, recognizable subjects—ranging from portraits to cityscapes and images of city life to landscapes and depictions of rural life—that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. These artworks, which were displayed in schools, libraries, post offices, museums and government buildings, vividly capture the realities and ideals of Depression-era America.

The exhibition is arranged into eight sections: “American People,” “City Life,” “Labor,” “Industry,” “Leisure,” “The City,” “The Country” and “Nature.”

The PWAP employed artists from across the country including Ilya Bolotowsky, Lily Furedi and Max Arthur Cohn in New York City; Harry Gottlieb and Douglass Crockwell in upstate New York; Herman Maril in Maryland; Gale Stockwell in Missouri; E. Dewey Albinson in Minnesota; E. Martin Hennings in New Mexico; and Millard Sheets in California.

Ross Dickinson paints the confrontation between man and nature in his painting of southern California, “Valley Farms” (1934). He contrasts the verdant green, irrigated valley with the dry, reddish-brown hills, recalling the appeal of fertile California for many Midwestern farmers escaping the hopelessness of the Dust Bowl.

Several artists chose to depict American ingenuity. Stadium lighting was still rare when Morris Kantor painted “Baseball at Night” (1934), which depicts a game at the Clarkstown Country Club’s Sports Centre in West Nyack, N.Y. Ray Strong’s panoramic “Golden Gate Bridge” (1934) pays homage to the engineering feats required to build the iconic San Francisco structure. “Old Pennsylvania Farm in Winter” (1934) by Arthur E. Cederquist features a prominent row of poles providing telephone service and possibly electricity, a rare modern amenity in rural America.

The program was open to artists who were denied other opportunities, such as African- Americans and Asian-Americans. African-American artists like Earle Richardson, who painted “Employment of Negroes in Agriculture” (1934), were welcomed, but only about 10 such artists were employed by the project. Richardson, who was a native New Yorker, chose to set his painting of quietly dignified workers in the South to make a broad statement about race. In the Seattle area, where Kenjiro Nomura lived, many Japanese-Americans made a living as farmers, but they were subject to laws that prevented foreigners from owning land and other prejudices. Nomura’s painting “The Farm” (1934) depicts a darker view of rural life with threatening clouds on the horizon.

During its brief existence the PWAP hired 3,749 artists who created 15,663 paintings, murals, sculptures, prints, drawings and craft objects at a cost of $1,312,000.

In April 1934, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., exhibited more than 500 works created as part of the PWAP. Selected paintings from the Corcoran exhibition later traveled to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and other cities across the country. President Roosevelt, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and government officials who attended the exhibition in Washington acclaimed the art enthusiastically. The Roosevelts selected 32 paintings for display at the White House, including Sheets’ “Tenement Flats” (1933-34) and Strong’s “Golden Gate Bridge” (1934). The success of the PWAP paved the way for later New Deal art programs, including the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project.

Nearly 150 paintings from the PWAP were transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum during the 1960s, along with a large number of artworks from subsequent programs that extended into the 1940s, especially the well-known WPA program.



Today's News

October 26, 2012

"David Hockney: A Bigger Picture" at Museum Ludwig features more than 150 works

French record for René Magritte with the sale of "La Grande Table" for $6.6 million

Städel Museum acquires Vilhelm Hammershøi's Interior. Strandgade 30 (1901)

ICE returns stolen and looted archeological art and antiquities to Mexico

Exquisite Symbolist painting leads 19th Century European Art Auction at Christie's

Soundtrack to history: 1878 Edison audio unveiled at the Museum of Innovation and Science

Germany opens long-awaited memorial to the Gypsies who were killed by the Nazis

New body of work by British artist Bruce French opens at Scream in London

New Museum opens major exhibition devoted to German artist Rosemarie Trockel

German artist Max Neumann's first solo exhibition in New York opens at Bruce Silverstein

Auschwitz prisoner and photographer Wilhelm Brasse dies at 95 in southern Poland

Dan Perjovschi's wit and sociopolitical critique in new exhibition at Lombard Freid

"1934: A New Deal for Artists" exhibition opens at the New York State Museum in Albany

Third solo exhibition with Joseph Smolinski opens at Mixed Greens

Property from the Estate of San Francisco socialite John Traina on offer at Bonhams

Swann Galleries' Rare & Important Travel Posters Sale announced

Ricardo O'Nascimento & Ebru Kurbak present "Feather Tales II" at LABoral

The Andy Warhol Museum announces the appointment of Kilolo Luckett as Director of Development

Scottish archive and library of legendary big game hunter makes £652,088 at Bonhams

The Whitney announces $1 million grant from the Keith Haring Foundation

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site