Earle Richardson

born New York City 1912-died New York City 1935
Also known as
  • Earle Wilton Richardson
New York, New York, United States
New York, New York, United States

Richardson was born in New York and studied at the National Academy of Design. During the Depression, he painted commissions for the Federal Art Project of the New Deal. Only twenty-two when he painted Employment of Negroes in Agriculture [SAAM, 1964.1.183], he committed suicide one year later. When he died, he was at work on a federally sponsored mural depicting the history of the Negro. In Employment..., he affirmed his view of rural blacks as young, powerful, and undefeated, a people whose time would come.

Elizabeth Prelinger Scenes of American Life: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.