WPA and Social Realism Art
World Wide Web Resources
National Museum of American Art
The National Museum of American Art is home to the largest collection of American art in the world with over 37,500 works. The collection of American art is the most inclusive of any museum and reflects the nation’s ethnic, geographic, cultural and religious diversity.
From January 2000 to December 2002, the museum featured a daily calendar entitled 1001 Days and Nights of American Art. By going to July 2001 and then to July 24, 2001, you can see Delightful Detroit featuring a WPA mural entitled Automotive Industry by Marvin Beerbohm (1908 Canada -1981 USA) painted during the Great Depression for the Technology Department of the Detroit Public Library.
The Art and Culture Network - ArtandCulture.com
ArtandCulture.com, part of the Art and Culture Network, is a not-for-profit project of The ArtCouncil, Inc. It is a unique online resource featuring thousands of artist biographies, information about art movements and themes and overviews of the full range of artistic disciplines.
The web page on Social Realism provides information on the movement as well as related artists, keywords and recommended URLs.
Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts ranks as the sixth most outstanding art museum in the nation. Its fine arts collections are among the most comprehensive in the country.
Diego Rivera at the DIA
The Detroit Institute of Arts is home to 27 fresco panels entitled Detroit Industry painted by the artist Diego Rivera on the walls of the garden court inside the DIA. The online exhibit provides photos of Rivera and Frida Kahlo in the DIA as well as photos of the Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant during the 1930s. The River Rouge Plant was the model for many of the aspects of the frescos.
City College of San Francisco
The City College of San Francisco is home to several murals by Diego Rivera, commissioned by the WPA for the Pan Pacific Exposition. The college’s web site contains information on the murals, location and a video.
ArtCyclopedia: The Fine Art Search Engine
As indicated in its name, ArtCyclopedia aims to become “the definitive and most effective guide to museum-quality fine art on the Internet…” A comprehensive index of artists at hundreds of museum sites, image archives, and other online resources are available. The custom search engine is quite valuable in searching the Internet for artist information. One can also browse artists by: Movement, Medium, Subject, Nationality and Women Artists.
In searching by Movement, the information provided for American Scene Painting, for example, provides links to American Regionalism and Social Realism, as well as artists listed chronologically and images of their works.
Greenhills Historical Society
Greenhills, Ohio is one of three “Greenbelt Communities” built by the federal government during the Great Depression, and as such, housed some wonderful WPA artwork. Photos of the WPA murals are on display at the Greenhills Community Building and some of the actual wall murals still exist – some in good condition and some in need of restoration
William Gropper (1897-1977)
Called one of the most significant American artists of his generation, William Gropper, a Social Realist, is noted for his “unflinching realism.” The web site features biographical information, locations of current exhibits and permanent installations. His mural The Construction of a Dam graces the U.S. Department of the Interior building in Washington, D. C. and may be seen on that web site.
The Minnesota Historical Society WPA Art Project www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/07wpa.html
As a private, non-profit educational and cultural institution, the Minnesota Historical Society established in 1849, preserves and shares Minnesota history through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Minnesota was also home to artists who worked on several of the publicly funded art programs during the Great Depression, including the Public Works Art Project (1933-1943) and the WPA Federal Art Project (1935-1943). The Minnesota Historical Society web site provides both primary and secondary sources for information on the WPA, the artists, and Minnesota’s contributions to the various projects.
The Illinois State Museum www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/art/htmls/de_sr.html
This web link above will take one to the Depression Era Art: The Federal Art Project section of the Illinois State Museum. There one can see works of art depicting the American Scene and Social Realism movements, as well as other Depression Era art. The Illinois State Museum maintains collections in art, history, anthropology and natural history with a geographical focus on Midwestern U.S. and emphasis on Illinois.