Platemark: 22.8 x 20.4 cm (9 x 8 1/16 in.); Sheet: 27.7 x 21.7 cm (10 7/8 x 8 9/16 in.)
Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1943.244
With a fellow artist, William E. Smith went on to found the first gallery specifically devoted to African American art in Los Angeles after World War II.
William E. Smith focused on contemporary social issues in his printmaking, which he learned while living in Cleveland during the 1930s and early 1940s. Here, the artist conveyed the despair and frustration of unemployed Black men during the Great Depression. The print was exhibited in the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual May Show in the year that it was created. Smith created a dramatic mood in the image through a stark tonal contrast produced using a printing plate made of linoleum, a material that was more readily available and inexpensive than a traditional wood block.
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