The Royal Academy of Arts will present an exhibition examining the economic, political and aesthetic climate that followed in the decade after the Wall Street Crash. 

(c) Royal Academy of Arts, YouTube.

This new exhibition draws from collections across America to showcase 45 paintings that depict the struggles that America faced as seen by some of the popular artists of the era.

Among those whose work is being displayed includes: Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keefe, Philip Guston, Edward Hopper, Alice Neel and Jackson Pollock.

The display will also be the first time that Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic (1930) will be on display outside of North America.

The devastation the the Great Depression caused in America meant that over the following decade, the consequences of economic insecurity and social hardship, fuelled by mass urbanisation, industrialisation and immigration, reverberated throughout the country, as it struggled to become a great and powerful economic nation again.

Artists wanted to capture these changes happening across the country, trying to redefine America by experimenting with styles such as Abstraction, Regionalism and Surrealism all to engage with the issues at the time.

Arranged thematically, America After the Fall will be divided into different sections for greater depth and understanding. For example,  Industrial Life will examine how artists addressed the power of manufacturing and labour, while Urban Life will capture the role of the city and mass entertainment. Other sections include  Looking to the Past,  Country Life Visions of Dystopia and Looking to the Future. 

Some of the highlights of the exhibition will include Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses, 1931 (Art Institute of Chicago), Charles Sheeler’s American Landscape, 1930 (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and Jackson Pollock’s, Untitled, c. 1938-41 (Art Institute of Chicago).

America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from the 25th February until the 4th June. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/america-after-the-fall

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