Apple Vendor

  • Barbara Stevenson, Apple Vendor, ca. 1933-1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.97

Barbara Stevenson painted Apple Vendor for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a New Deal program created by the federal government to give financial and moral support to American artists during the Great Depression. Artists were encouraged to go out and paint the American Scene,” meaning they should record the look and feel of the country. This scene depicts an old man seated on a street corner, crate in front of him with piles of yellow and red apples for sale at 5 cents a piece.” The man’s figure dominates the composition, creating a heroic and monumental presence. In the background the factory chimneys, a sign of industry and hope, strike a silhouette against the golden sky. Perhaps we can also sense optimism for the future in the inclusion of a mother and child in this scene, completing a generational timeline next to the apple vendor.

Apple Vendor
ca. 1933-1934
31 1429 18 in. (79.374.1 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Recreation – leisure – smoking
  • Occupation – vendor – fruit seller
  • Architecture – industry – factory
  • Cityscape – street
  • Figure male – full length
  • Figure group – female and child
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – Missouri
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI