Renewing the American Spirit: The Art of the Great Depression explores the physical and social landscape of the United States during the Great Depression through paintings, prints, photographs, and other media. The original exhibition includes a selection of works from the Museum’s excellent collection of WPA art, a recently acquired monumental mural by Gardner Hale, which has not been exhibited publicly since the First President’s bicentennial exhibition in 1932, and several loans from regional institutions.
The exhibition examines the diverse responses of artists to the social upheaval and economic distress that characterized American life in the 1930s. Together, the aesthetically and politically varied works produced in the 1930s paint a revealing portrait of the nation’s evolving psyche as it sought to move ahead through one of the country’s most challenging periods.
Credit: John Steuart Curry (American, 1897–1946). Sunset (detail), 1934. Oil on Masonite. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds provided by the James C. and Virginia W. Meade Collections Endowment, Mr. and Mrs. Sam P. Shelburne, and Beaux Arts Trust, 2008.100. Photo: Joseph Mills