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"Bricklayer at Rest," Monumental WPA Period Painting of Worker with Landscape



One of the finest depictions of an American worker from the 1930s that we have seen, this monumental painting of a shirtless bricklayer, resting against a curved brick niche, with a half-built brick wall to one side, is a Classic example of American social realism, epitomized by the many WPA murals from that period. The man's ruddy skin and tousled blond hair suggest that he has been at work in the sun for some time. His left-leaning political sympathies are discreetly indicated, too: a small Communist volume to his side with the Hammer and sickle on its cover. The slice of landscape to the left is itself a Classic example of 1930s painting, and the colors throughout are rich and vivid. The painter, Paul Ulen, was trained in England, in the 1920s, later returning to Ohio to win several prizes at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the 1920s and 1930s. The oil on canvas painting has recently been fully cleaned, restored and framed.


  • Creator
    Paul Ulen (Painter)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 64 in. (162.56 cm)Width: 46 in. (116.84 cm)Depth: 1.5 in. (3.81 cm)
  • Style
    Art Deco (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1930s
  • Condition
  • Seller Location
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU865119794262

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  • Shipping
    Ships From: Philadelphia, PA
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Seller
Located in Philadelphia, PA
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Established in 2005
1stDibs seller since 2009
300 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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