There are many ways to appreciate the Great Depression’s artwork. These works have been around for many years and can be seen in any museum, but what makes them special is that they were created during a difficult time in American history. While the Depression affected many people, its effects were felt most in artists. Artists like Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other artists who received government subsidy were able to produce beautiful art that made a statement during this time.
Artists also were able to make a mark in history by using these images to highlight the hardships that migrant workers and ordinary Americans were facing during the Great Depression. A popular novel at the time, The Grapes of Wrath, chronicles the Joad family’s struggles to escape the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and enlightened many people about the difficulties faced by migrant farmers. Photographers such as Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange helped tell the story of those affected by the Depression by documenting their lives. James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men documented the lives of sharecroppers in Alabama.
The Great Depression changed the way artists viewed art and the relationship between artists and ordinary people. Artists are not inspired by a life of wealth and fame. Their work must be inspired by the hardships of the common man. People in the prime time do not feel inner loneliness or true cruelty. To create something beautiful, an artist must come from their heart. This is a process that cannot be replicated by the prime-time society.
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