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American Farm Hand

1937 Sandor Klein Born: New York, New York 1912 oil and casein on canvas 35 1/4 x 44 1/2 in. (89.5 x 113.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Dr. Ira Miller 1981.142 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 35A

Luce Center Label

This sinewy farmhand with a direct gaze embodied the idea of "recovery" that dominated American life in the tough years of the Depression and the dust bowl. Sandor Klein painted this work at about the time the federal government established the Farm Security Administration, which provided jobs and housing for migrant farm workers and made health care available to their families. Practical relief efforts like the FSA went hand in hand with a nationwide push for paintings, songs, radio shows, and stage plays that would encourage Americans facing difficult times. Very quickly, however, recovery was moving closely with rearmament as Americans braced for another war, and this young man, though he rested easily in his chair, was ready to defend the heartland.


Figure group - male

Landscape - farm

Object - weapon - gun

Occupation - farm - farmer


paint - casein

paint - oil

fabric - canvas