Optimists and Activists: The American Scene

Date: May 19-September 15, 2013
Location: Yarbrough Gallery

  • Jitterbug II 1941
    silkscreen on paperboard
    William H. Johnson born Florence, SC in 1901, died Long Island, NY in 1970. Museum Purchase made possible by the Edward Swift Shorter Bequest Fund 1995.21 - Regionalism was an American art movement popular during the Great Depression. It depicted upbeat scenes of everyday American life.

  • W.P.A. Workers 1935
    etching on paper Abraham Jacobs born San Francisco, CA 1904. Gift of George W. Dudley, Jr. 1991.17 - The art work of Social Realists depicted the economic hardships, emotional strains, and personal impact of the Great Depression.

This exhibition features prints from the Museum’s collection that represent the diversity of styles and subjects that encompassed American art from the 1930s – 1950s. This important period in American art often referred to as the “American Scene”. This compilation of works will provide the opportunity to examine first-rate examples of the work of many of American’s most influential artists of those decades. The art touches on the very pulse of America during those tumultuous years of the Depression and World War II with expressions that run the gamut from unrestrained appreciation of the beauty of place to wry commentary on politics and culture of the time. The diversity of style and subject suggests the energy and creative spirit that defined those years. Enduring hardships of the Great Depression, these American artists were stimulated by national programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and even when federal funding was not available, their passion for visually relating the many stories that characterized America was undaunted.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous funding from “Alan F. Rothschild, through The Fort Trustee Fund, Community Foundation.”


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