What do these three artists have in common? How would you describe the contribution of each?
Do these slides help you define “social realism” given your reading of Chapter 34?
Thomas Hart Benton
United States, 1889-1975
best-known muralist and regionalist painter of 1930s and early 1940s
Sharply criticized for his rural views. His paintings were very popular, but critics called them vulgar
Noted for his dramatic American themes
What key elements do you see in the next works by Benton?
What mood is created by how Benton uses these elements: composition, content, black and white, and overall design in this lithograph? What is Benton trying to say?
Some say this painting foreshadows the coming storm of World War II. Do you agree or disagree? Next: The Ballad of the Jealous Lover, 1934
In what way could the images, colors or composition in this painting be considered uniquely American?
What does this painting suggest about rural American life?
Next: Trail Riders , 1964-1965
Thomas Hart Benton
Lithograph, Approaching Storm, 1938
The Hailstorm, 1940
The Ballad of the Jealous Lover, 1934
Trail Riders , 1964-1965
Do the images of these works reinforce uniquely American values?
Inspired by native Mexican culture and European study
Painted large murals dealing with Mexican life, history and social problems
Also painted murals in United States celebrating socialism and industrial America
What are his key images, themes?
Night of the Rich, 1928. Fresco, North wall, Courtyard of the Fiestas, Ministry of Education, Mexico City
Banner in Spanish: “All the hard/cruel money”
What does this painting tell you about class differences in Mexico at this time?
Rivera: A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, 1947-48, Alameda Hotel Next: Detail of mural’s center
Rivera is shown here, holding hands with a a skeleton, a symbol of death, popularized during the Mexican Revolution by Posada, his teacher, to show the need for struggle.
Rivera painted personal memories with history in this mural, from despotic Mexican leaders, to Cortez, and the poor, who were once excluded from Alameda Park.
What reaction do you think Rivera was striving for? What do you think of the scale of this painting?
Detail of right side, A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, 1947-48
What mood does Rivera create with his drawings of the common people?
The Flower Carrier, 1935
What’s the hidden message? What does Rivera want you to think about the working conditions shown?
Flower Day , 1925
United States, 1895-1965
powerful documentary portraits of rural America during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Japanese Internment during World War II
What key themes can you find in her work?
To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. But when the great photographs are produced, it will be down that road. But I have only touched it, just touched it.
Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940, FSA Collection, Library of Congress
That's the first day I ever made a photograph actually on the street. I put it on the wall of my studio and customers, people whom I was making portraits of would come in and glance at them. And the only comment I ever got was, "What are you going to do with this kind of thing? I didn't know. But I knew that picture was on my wall, and I knew that it was worth doing."
White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, Ca. 1933, Oakland Museum Collection
One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.
Next: Photographs of the Japanese Internment
The billboards that were up at the time I photographed. Savage, savage billboards. This is what we did. How did it happen? How could we?