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  • Design Credit: Kacy Ellis, Photo Credit: Wynn Myers. Dimensions: H 18 in. x W 14 in.
  • Design Credit: Jeremiah Brent Design, Photo Credit: Nicole Franzen. Dimensions: H 18 in. x W 14 in.
  • Design Credit: Sarah Shetter, Photo Credit: Boris Breuer. Dimensions: H 18 in. x W 14 in.
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William Gropper
"Witness" WPA Mid 20th Century American Scene Social Realism Modern Political

1930s/40s

$4,600

About the Item

"Witness" WPA Mid 20th Century American Scene Social Realism Modern Political. 17 1/2 x 14 inches. Signed lower right. Unframed. This drawing is published in the William Gropper monograph by Louis Lozowick, The Art Alliance Press, 1983. Provenance: Estate of the artist. BIO William Gropper (1897- 1977) Throughout his life, William Gropper used his artistic talents to protest social injustice. Born in New York City, he grew up there in poverty and left high school to work as a dishwasher and delivery boy. He eventually began a career in art and was able to study with Robert Henri and George Bellows from 1912 to 1915. He adopted their realistic painting style, and his own work expressed sympathy for common laborers and outrage at society's ills. In 1919 Gropper established a reputation as a political cartoonist working for the New York Tribune. His blunt, forceful style attracted the attention of other publications, and he provided illustrations and cartoons for a variety of magazines, from the left-wing New Masses to mainstream Vanity Fair. Like many social realist artists of the 1930s, Gropper supported liberal political causes, depicting subjects such as the plight of migrant laborers and striking factory workers. In his first gallery exhibition in 1936 at ACA Galleries, Gropper's work was so well received by critics, collectors, and artists that the following year he had two one-man exhibitions at ACA Galleries. In 1937, Gropper traveled west on a Guggenheim Fellowship and visited the Dust Bowl and the Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams, sketching studies for a series of paintings and a mural he painted for the Department of the Interior. That same year he had paintings purchased by both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Gropper exhibited at the 1939 New York World's Fair, Whitney Museum of American Art (1924-55), Art Institute of Chicago (1935-49), Carnegie International (1937-50), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1939-48), and National Academy of Design (1945-48). He was a founder of the Artists Equity Association and member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. From 1940 to 1945 William Gropper was preoccupied with anti-Nazi cartoons, pamphlets, and war bond posters. In 1943 he was selected by the War Department Art Advisory Committee to go to Africa and make a pictorial record of the war front there. In 1944 he participated in the exhibition Artists for Victory at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, winning first prize in lithography. During the 1950s Gropper was attacked for his refusal to cooperate with the McCarthy Committee and the effect was an end to his exhibitions and commissions. Gropper’s last exhibition was in 1971.
  • Creator:
    William Gropper (1897 - 1977, American)
  • Creation Year:
    1930s/40s
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 18 in (45.72 cm)Width: 14 in (35.56 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Framing:
    Framing Options Available
  • Condition:
  • Gallery Location:
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU1156210962812

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