Depression Era Art:FAP
Cast of Characters
Depression Era Art
American Scene
Social Realism
American Worker
Modern Sensibility
Stolen Moments
Activities & Resources
Double Exposure
Keeping Us in Stitches
Matter of Style
Making Connections
      Depression Era Art Collage

The Illinois State Museum's Fine Arts Collection has many works created by Illinois artists as part of the New Deal art projects during the 1930s and 1940s. Hundreds of Illinois men and women participated in these projects and left a legacy of work that documents a period of Illinois art history. 

Sixteen of these works are explored in this module as they relate to the ideas of 

  • The American Scene - nostalgic and emotional views of Illinois farms and towns
  • Social Realism - artists' statements on political and social issues
  • The American Worker - images depicting hardworking Americans
  • Modern Sensibility - examples of artists' works in styles of Modern Art
  • Stolen Moments - images showing precious private minutes of calm during a stressful period.
The Great Depression of the 1930s was a difficult time in the United States as Americans lost jobs, homes, businesses, and hope. President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a federal plan later known as The New Deal, which included the Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of the WPA projects, The Federal Art Project (FAP) paid artists to produce thousands of works of art including easel paintings, sculpture, murals, graphic art, and applied arts.


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