During the Great Depression, American artists visualized national culture in the context of the economic depression at home, civil war in Spain, and rising fascism in Europe. This exhibition argues that the 1930s, bookended by the economic crash of 1929 and the US’s entry into World War II in 1941, was one of the most vital artistic periods for American artists in the whole of the twentieth century. Featuring approximately 50 paintings—drawn from the holdings of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as from more than 25 public and private collections—it tells the story of this economically, politically, and aesthetically turbulent decade by surveying the varied works of artists such as Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, Ben Shahn, Philip Evergood, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Grant Wood.
The exhibition is also on view at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, England (spring 2017).
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