In the late 1920’s until just prior to the start of WWII, the world was hit with a devastatingly severe economic depression known as the Great Depression. As a result of the Great Depression, there was an effort to get out of work artist employed. Under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Federal Arts Project was established.
One product of the Federal Arts Project, was Ray Strong’s Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, 1934). This piece of art is a great example of the Early Modern Era. Strong used bright, incredible colors to depict the the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
"Golden Gate Bridge", San Francisco 1934, Ray Strong
The colors are just one of the things that drew me to this piece. The details are simply extraordinary. From the hills in the background, to the waves crashing on the beach, the details are crisp and realistic. The way Strong accurately added shadows made the painting photo perfect.
Another painting from this era that I have always loved is American Gothic (Iowa, 1930) by Grant Wood. Even though this painting was not a result of the Federal Arts project, it was strongly influence by the Great Depression. I have always enjoyed the simplicity of this painting.
"American Gothic", Iowa, 1930 Grant Wood
The common thought is that this is a husband and wife, however this painting is intended to depict a father and daughter. I think that this painting is an awesome representation of the emotions of Americans at the time. The man has a stern look of determination, (that reminds me of my grandfather) and daughter has a look of concern maybe even fear.
At any rate, this painting has become an American icon. I think that this has to be one of the most impersonated paintings in history. I can not verify that, but a year hardly goes by before I see a parody of this painting in a movie. This piece will very likely remain timeless.