During an extended period of the depression in USA (between 1935-1942), the US federal government supported artists by commissioning artwork for non-federal places and activities. Early on in the project, posters were painted by hand, each individually created. Later on, they were printed with silk screen.
According to the US library of congress, “over two million posters were printed from thirty-five thousand designs. Today, only about two thousand of the posters produced by all the poster divisions are known to exist.” This initiative expanded the techniques and methods for screen printing.
Some of the posters were not official, never meant for public displays; examples of artists being artistic, sarcastic and humorous.
3 thoughts on “WPA posters – art in the depression”
Matt Harris says:
These are so cool. Sad they are nearly all vanished now. The “See America” ones gives me this weird shivery-flashback-connection of seeing that art style as a child in the 70s and even then being affected by it. Love the Wild Life ones and the Don’t Mix Em ones too. Just amazing.
They are brilliant. And it is interesting how this visual language is usually associated with propaganda of various sorts. The aesthetics of dramatic statements.