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Democratic ArtThe New Deal's Influence on American Culture$
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Sharon Ann Musher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226247182

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226247212.001.0001

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Art as Enrichment

Art as Enrichment

Chapter:
(p.63) Three Art as Enrichment
Source:
Democratic Art
Author(s):

Sharon Ann Musher

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226247212.003.0004

In this chapter, the Treasury’s art administrators–Edward Bruce, Forbes Watson, Edward Rowan, and Olin Dows–are contrasted against the academic artists and architects who emphasized neoclassical traditions in the previous chapter. The Treasury attempted to hire a more diverse and larger pool of state-funded artists, including Bernard Zackheim, George Biddle, and Wendall Jones, in order to democratize high quality art and to commission works that drew on distinctly American and often regional traditions. They aimed to enlighten and educate the populace from the bottom up with homespun themes. Many regionalist painters and lay viewers embraced the Treasury’s commitment to local artists, myths, and folklore. Although academic artists, those on the left, and certain lay people disputed the Treasury’s approach, the program succeeded in ennobling working people and raising the spirits of many who otherwise were enduring troubled times.

Keywords:   Edward Bruce, Forbes Watson, Olin Dows, Mural, treasury

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