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Edward Laning Portrait

Edward Laning

Petersburg, Illinois 1906

New York, New York 1981

Photo Caption:
Edward Laning standing beside a self-portrait, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0077972


Painter and muralist. In his work, Laning expressed his disenchantment with the political and social uncertainties of post-Depression America and his perception of the degradation of American values; in several paintings he used fire as a symbol of impending societal destruction.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

After Edward Laning finished college in Chicago, he moved to New York to study at the Art Students League. He eventually settled there and became part of a group of artists known as the Fourteenth Street School. Laning and his cohorts lived near Union Square and specialized in scenes of their neighborhood, which was a hotbed of radical politics. He worked for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, and the most famous of his government commissions was a series of four panels depicting the history of the written word for the New York Public Library on 42nd Street. (Hills, Social Concern and Urban Realism, 1983)