I’ve been wanting to do more large abstracts after many months of smaller works. Here’s the latest.
April 22″x30″ oil on canvas board
I’m reading Irving Sandler’s 1970 ‘The Triumph of American Painting, a History of Abstract Expressionism’, in which he tells us about artists who took jobs with the Federal Art Project, a spin-off of the WPA. DeKooning was doing odd jobs to get by and this program enabled him to explore his own work full-time after 1936. The gov’t gave about 5,500 artists, craftsmen, researchers, photographers and teachers monthly average stipends of $95 to do whatever they wanted. All they had to do was produce 96hrs of work. The book goes into detail about the plight of the artist during the mid 1930′s. They were thrown together by ‘mutual distress and artist organizations began to form as a natural result’.
Without government assistance these artists might not have created Abstract Expressionism. Another interesting shift was that the Great Depression ‘upgraded the social standing of artists….after the collapse of the economy, artists could shake their feelings of social inadequacy, for the American Dream was proven bankrupt.’ I think we could say the time has come for the arts to take center stage again, but the administration is going to have a hard time convincing angry Americans to throw money at struggling artists, galleries and museums.