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In this Case: More 1934 in the Luce Foundation Center
June 25, 2009


Waterfront—Brooklyn by Harry Shokler

It was August last year when visitors on my tour started to pause a bit longer in front of cases 34b to 38a. All of a sudden the public’s interest was piqued by these paintings of industry, a hard day’s work, and the American heartland. Now almost a year on, recent economic events have brought these pictures of the "American Scene" from the 1930s sharply into focus. Many of those paintings originally shown in the Luce Foundation Center now feature in the exhibition 1934: A New Deal for Artists, currently on display at the American Art Museum. The show focuses on the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a government program that supported artists from December 1933 to June 1934 during the Great Depression.

The exhibition is timely but also, I think, notable for being drawn entirely from the American Art Museum’s permanent collection. This is why I would like to point you back to the Luce Foundation Center, our visible storage center, where there are twelve more paintings from the PWAP on view. The museum has great depth in this area, meaning that the Luce Center has been able to replace the departing paintings with more works from storage. If you’ve enjoyed 1934: A New Deal for Artists at the museum or online, then I suggest coming up to the Luce Foundation Center to see more.

Among the highlights is Waterfront—Brooklyn, a harbor snow scene showing the perpetual movement of workers, cranes, boats, smoke, and trams. In the background, the great skyscrapers of Manhattan signal recent achievements, and in the foreground the homey Majestic Diner beckons—the reward at the end of the working day. In addition to the twelve paintings from 1934, the Luce Center has works created for the Federal Art Project (FAP), which ran from 1935 to 1943. This last program includes our collection of mural studies for public buildings across America. Seeing these paintings next to each other is a great way to appreciate the influence of federal art programs and is a sure way to introduce yourself to some fascinating new artists.

The catalogue for 1934: A New Deal for Artists will be available this summer.

Posted by Edward on June 25, 2009 in American Art Here


Nice site.

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