Labor

labor gallery

American workers became heroic figures in the 1930s. People who worked construction or in mines or even in little storefront shops in small towns held out hope of better times to come.

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Frank Cassara, born Partinico, Sicily, Italy 1913
Days without End
about 1937
oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 16 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.216

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Louis Lozowick, born Ludvinovka, Russia 1892–died South Orange, NJ 1973
Strike Scene
1934
lithograph on paper
10 7/8 x 8 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Adele Lozowick
1984.132.27

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William Gropper, born New York City 1897–died Manhasset, NY 1977
Automobile Industry (mural study, Detroit, Michigan Post Office)
1940–1941
oil on fiberboard
18 7/8 x 46 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum acquisition
1971.2

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Moses Soyer, born Borisoglebsk, Russia 1899–died New York City 1974
Seamstress
about 1940
serigraph on paper
14 x 12 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase
1980.17.6

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Picketing copper miners on strike waiting for the “scabs” (strikebreakers) to come out of the mine. Ducktown, Tennessee
1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.50

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Mexican woman, seasonal labor contracted for by planters, picking cotton on Knowlton Plantation, Perthshire, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi
1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.24

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Russell T. Limbach, born Massillon, OH 1904–died Sherman, CT 1971
Steel Workers
about 1934
lithograph on paper
17 5/8 x 11 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration
1985.65.30

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Migrant agricultural workers waiting in line behind truck in the field, for a day’s work. Near Belle Glade, Florida
1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.2

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Douglass Crockwell, born Columbus, OH 1904–died Glens Falls, NY 1968
Paper Workers
1934
oil on canvas
36 1/8 x 48 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.152

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Tyrone Comfort, born Port Huron, MI 1909–died Los Angeles, CA 1939
Gold Is Where You Find It
1934
oil on canvas
40 1/8 x 50 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
1965.18.49

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Harry Gottlieb, born Bucharest, Romania 1895–died New York City 1992
Filling the Ice House
1934
oil on canvas
40 3/8 x 60 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.19

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Frank C. Kirk, born Zitomir, Russia 1889–died New York City 1963
Homeward
1933
oil on canvas
48 1/4 x 38 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Frank Cohen Kirk
1964.19.5

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Palmer Hayden, born Widewater, VA 1890–died New York City 1973
The Janitor Who Paints
about 1930
oil on canvas
39 1/8 x 32 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation
1967.57.28

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Jacob Getlar Smith, born New York City 1898–died New York City 1958
Snow Shovellers
1934
oil on canvas
29 7/8 x 40 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.22

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Ilya Bolotowsky, born St. Petersburg, Russia 1907–died New York City 1981
In the Barber Shop
1934
oil on canvas
23 7/8 x 30 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.79

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Fletcher Martin, born Palisade, CO 1904–died Guanajuato, Mexico 1979
Mine Rescue (mural study for Kellogg, Idaho Post Office)
1939
tempera on panel
15 3/4 x 36 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration
1974.28.315

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Ben Shahn, born Kovno, Lithuania 1898–died New York City 1969
The Riveter (mural study, Bronx, New York central postal station)
1938
tempera on paperboard
33 x 14 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration
1974.28.371