The Fifth Year

  • John R. Grabach, The Fifth Year, 1934, oil on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1979.119.1

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John R. Grabach painted this image five years after the great stock market crash of 1929. It shows an endless stream of people rising up out of New York and trudging across the sky. The man in front gazes out at the viewer from under his hat, while his partner weeps on his shoulder. Paintings such as this, emphasizing the desolate conditions experienced by many Americans, reflect the rise of Socialist and Communist activism during the 1930s. These figures represent the working masses, their gray faces and threadbare clothes highlighting the hardships of the Depression. Their journey through the sky symbolizes their long trek toward a better future.

Title
The Fifth Year
Artist
Date
1934
On View
Dimensions
42 1/4 x 48 in. (107.4 x 121.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the artist

Mediums Description
oil on wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • State of being – mood – weariness
  • History – United States – Depression Era
  • Landscape – weather – snow
  • Cityscape – New York – New York
  • Figure group
  • Architecture Exterior – commercial – skyscraper
Object Number
1979.119.1
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

ca. 1917
oil on canvas
watercolor and pencil on paper
n.d.
oil on canvas mounted on wood

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