American Farm Hand

Media - 1981.142 - SAAM-1981.142_1 - 72990
Copied Sandor Klein, American Farm Hand, 1937, oil and casein on canvas, 35 1444 12 in. (89.5113.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. Ira Miller, 1981.142

Artwork Details

American Farm Hand
35 1444 12 in. (89.5113.0 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Ira Miller
Mediums Description
oil and casein on canvas
  • Object — weapon — gun
  • Landscape — farm
  • Occupation — farm — farmer
  • Figure group — male
Object Number

Artwork Description

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.