Emigres and Universal Voices

Research Paper Thesis Proposal Due on Canvas Monday, September 20











In contrast to the avant-garde approaches that spurred the Dada and Surrealist movement, during the 1930s American Regionalists saw the avant-garde as distinctly European and elitist. Instead of offering critiques on the absurdities of modern life, American Regionalists sought an artistic identity that was uniquely expressive of the American experience.
Early Sunday Morning

Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930.

Norman Rockwell, Deadline, 1938.











"I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa." - Grant Wood
"I wallowed in every cockeyed ism that came along, and it took me ten years to get all that modernist dirt out of my system." - Thomas Hart Benton
American Gothic

Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930.

Thomas Hart Benton, The Arts of the West, 1932.











Red Canna
Pepper #30
Migrant Mother
Georgia O'Keefe, Red Canna, c. 1924.
Edward Weston, Pepper #30, 1930.
Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936.
Jacob Lawrence, Bar ‘n Grill, 1937.
Horace Pippin, Interior, 1944.









"While many East Coast critics branded the Regionalists as reactionary and provincial, the artists themselves often espoused progressive, populist, and socialist ideals. Many felt that modernist art was inaccessible to working class people, and they hoped to create images that would reflect and enoble the lives of the rural poor. By representing the Midwestern landscape and its inhabitants, Regionalists celebrated an underclass of people whose lives were often ignored in the cultural centers of urban America." - Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri
Thomas Hart Benton, America Today, 1930 - 1931.









Historic Context
WWI ends with Treaty of Versailles
Weimar inflation
Mussolini claims power over Italy as fascist dictator
While in prison for attempted seizure of power, Hitler writes Mien Kampf, arguring that Germany needed to build a large military in order to secure economic self-sufficiancy, suppress communism, and exterminate the Jewish people.
Great Depression begins
Hitler appointed Chancellor, restricts the press, and bans political meetings and marches. Hitler will be given full power by August.
Reichstag fire
Dachau opens with Communists as its first prisoners

Nazis begin "Aryanization" of Germany by dismissing non-Aryans from civil service, liquidating Jewish-owned businesses and stripping Jewish lawyers and doctors of their clients. At the time, Jews made up about 1% of the total German population.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews will begin fleeing Germany
c. 1930s
New Deal begins - program of government spending to end the Great Depression
1936 - 1939
Spanish Civil War
German scientists bombard nucleus of atom with protons, releasing enormous energy & providing decisive proof of Einstein's theory related to E = mc2











Surrealism = a European artistic and literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s that explored the direct expression of the unconscious unobscured by rational thought. Surrealism was influenced by Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical theories, but the movement was also very much a reaction against the "reason" that had led Europe into the devastations of World War I.

Construction with Boiled Beans

Salvador Dali, Construction with Boiled Beans, 1936.












Joan Miro, Nocturne, 1935.
Yves Tanguy, Indefinite Divisiblitly, 1942.











"Born in Romania in 1910, Hedda Sterne moved to the U.S in 1941." "From 1924 to 1941 Hedda Sterne created multiple forms of art which could be seen as series in the flux of the preoccupation. There are surrealist compositions with fantasy and fairy tale atmosphere, with princesses and castles surrounded by huge scale flowers. Collages were part of her artistic research and the hazard is extremely present within the artworks. Hedda was using different cut-outs from magazines and papers, which she threw on another paper. She would glue them as they accidentally lie down and integrate them with drawings in surrealistic, strange compositions." - ArtDaily
Hedda Sterne, Feminine Character,
c. 1938. Collage on paper.











Arshile Gorky, Composition: Horse and Figures, 1928.
Arshile Gorky, How My Mother's Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life, 1944.










The Art ist and HIs Mother

The Artist and His Mother

Gorky and his mother c. 1912.
Arshile Gorky, The Artist and His Mother, 1926 - 1936.





















Vostanik Manoog Adoyan
Arshile = refers to the hero Achilles
Gorky = Russian for bitter
"The bitter Achilles"


Standing L to R: Bernard Reis, Irene Francis, Esteve Francés, Elena Calas, Arshile Gorky Enrico Donati, Nicolas Calas.
Seated L to R: Steffi Kiesler, Andre Breton, Mougouch, Max Ernst Becky Reis, Elisa Breton, Patricia Matta, Frederick Kiesler, Nina Lebel, Roberto Matta, Marcel Duchamp.