Julius Bloch: The Time Has Come

Early in his career, artist Julius Bloch (1888-1966) painted serene landscapes, but the force of his compassion for the human struggle soon over­powered his heart and his canvas. He felt compelled to portray instead the blacks, the working poor, the unemployed that made up the fabric of American life during the Great Depression. In 1932, he won­dered in his journal why such somber subjects...
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New Deal Mural at Old Economy Village

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal in 1933 to alleviate massive unemployment, stimulate industrial recovery, and create economic growth in the wake of the Great Depression. His relief programs gave work to millions of unemployed Americans including not only construction workers and laborers, but also artists, musicians, and writers. A 1932 graduate of the Art Institute of...
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Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices

On a February morning in 1937, artist George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) and a group of four men met at the post office in Selinsgrove, Snyder County. Armed with cloth-covered rolling pins, the men attached Rickey’s mural entitled Susquehanna Trail to one of the lobby’s end walls. After six hours, they transformed the entire blank white wall, from marble wainscoting to ceiling, into a...
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