AmericanSocial Realism Nicole Fude Lindsay Magaldi Grant Mckinney
What is it?Mainly focuses on lower-class Americans in urbansettings, and on their hardships andsurroundingsAttempts to create art that is truly American insubject and style (rather than copying Europeaninnovations and movements)Rejects the abstract styles that many modern artmovements utilizedMediums include, but not limited to,photography, prints, etchings, and of course,different methods of painting like oil and
Social Realism was developed as a reactionagainst idealism and the exaggerated egoencouraged by Romanticism. Consequences ofthe Industrial Revolution became apparent;urban centers grew, slums proliferated on anew scale contrasting with the display ofwealth of the upper classes. With a newsense of social consciousness, the SocialRealists pledged to “fight the beautifulart”, any style which appealed to the eyeor emotions.
● They focused on the ugly realities of● contemporary life and sympathized with● working-class people, particularly the● poor. They recorded what they saw (“as it● existed”) in a dispassionate manner. The● public was outraged by Social Realism, in● part, because they didnt know how to look● at it or what to do with it
Two American Realist MovementsSocial Realism Scene Painting/RegionalismFocuses on lower-classes, particularly Focuses on settings andthose of New York objects distinctlyImmigrants and identifiable as Americanlaborers are commonsubjects Often depicts farmers andDraws attention to their workpoor livingconditions Champions values such asOften promotedcommunist hard work and independencesentiment Promotes American patriotism and
Compare/Contrast Social Realism RegionalismDorothea Lange, Migrant Mother Grant Wood, American Gothic (1936) (1930)
Influences on Social RealismRobert Henri and his Ashcan Artists holdthe "Independent Exhibit of Artists" in1910, with many paintings depicting NewYork City and the lower classes.The Progressive Era brought "muckrakers",journalists who went to great lengths tofind the truth and to spread awareness ofsocial problems.Finally, the Great Depression convincedmany that capitalism had failed. It alsoinspired some artists to portray thehardship around them.
Diego RiveraBorn in Mexico in 1886, died in 1957Helped found the Communist Party in MexicoMainly a painter of murals that portrayedthe everyday life and work of the lowerclassOne famous mural displayed in the DetroitInstitute of Art is Detroit Industry (1933)
Ben ShahnBorn in Lithuania in 1898, died in 1969.As such, he had a lot of sympathy for immigrants, demonstrated by his series of paintings known as The Passion of Sacco and VanzettiWorked with Dorothea Lange during the Depression, taking photos to document the poverty
Jacob LawrenceBorn in 1917, died in 2000.Lawrences paintings are less "realistic" than that of other social realistsHe created "sets" of paintings, almost like a comic stripHe based many paintings on his experiences and his observations in Harlem