A Problem for Critics
Quiz 1 will open Friday, September 22 and must be submitted before midnight on Monday, September 27










Federal Art Project
1935 - 1943

FAP artists received famous salary of $23.86/ week
when a Woolworth's clerk earned $11/ week

  • Fostred a sense of community amongst artists
  • Spoke of the importance of art to the United States











New venues to see and exhibit contemporary art opened:
  • Museum of Modern Art founded in 1929
  • Whitney Museum founded 1930
  • Julien Levy Gallery opens 1931
  • Museum of Non-Objective Painting (will later become the Guggenheim Museum) opened in 1939
  • Art of This Century Gallery opens in 1942
  • Betty Parsons Gallery opens in 1945
  • Sidney Janis Gallery opened in 1948
Art of This Century Gallery











As a result, the artistic community in New York began to blossom.

Art Students League

Important art schools opened and groups formed:
Art Students League
Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts
The Club
Cedar Tavern
The Cedar Bar
The Art Students League, NY











First Papers of Surrealism exhibition, designed by Duchamp, 1942.
Arshile Gorky, The Betrothel II, 1947.











Germany invades Poland
England & France declare war on Germany
Germany begins gasing to death the mentally ill and disabled in a pilot program for the extermination of Jewish people.
1939 - 1945
WWII - the largest and deadliest war in history with over 73 million deaths (including 22 to 25 million military casualties and about 6 million civillian Jewish deaths)
Germany conquers Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.
German invasion of Soviet Union. More than 500,000 are killed by mobile units.
People designated as Jewish in German held territories are required to wear a yellow star.
Experiments in mass killing methods at Auschwitz begin. More than two million people will be killed at Auschwitz alone.
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor
Germany declares war on the United States
The U.S. declares war on Germany and Japan
U.S. forces about 120,000 Japanese Americans to relocate in isolated, remote internment camps.
Following the U.S., Canada and Mexico will also inter citizens of Japanese descent.











An American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, in one of the final chapters of World War II. It killed an estimated 140,000 by December that year.
Hiroshima after atomic bombing

Hiroshima Museum of Science and Industry, 1945











On August 9, the port city of Nagasaki was also bombed, killing an estimated 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later -- on August 15, 1945 -- [arguably] bringing the war to a close.


Nuclear bombing of Nagasaki,  August 9, 1945.
Nagasaki before and after nuclear bombing, 1945.











Lee Miller, Buchenwald, April 1945. 
Ruins of the Dresden Frauenkirche after allied fire bombing, 1945.





















After WWII

United States
  • Left in ruins - few resources to rebuild or get "back to life"
  • Housing and construction boom nurtered by GI returns
  • Many countries remained politically divided
  • Country invigorated by new found strength
  • Numerous avant-garde artists had immigrated to the U.S.
  • Sense of artistic community blossoms in NY
The Kissing Sailor, or
"The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture"
Alfred Eisenstaedt, V.J. Day, 1945.











Post WWII Suburban Ranch Home










Consider that these two American works were made in 1948 and purchased by MoMA in 1949.
Andrew Wyeth, Christina's World, 1948.
Jackson Pollock, Number 1 A, 1948.











Spring 1945 "A Problem for Critics"
exhibition at the 67 Gallery
Included works by: Arshile Gorky, Joan Miro, Adolph Gottleib, Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, and Jackson Pollock
Gallery owner Howard Putzel, declared in a press release for the exhibition, “I believe we see real American painting beginning now.”
Jackson Pollock, Moon Woman, 1942.