Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1943.244
Much of the art made during the Great Depression and the years preceding World War II expressed anger, alienation, and hopelessness at the economic conditions that left nearly half the families in Harlem, one of the largest black communities in the country, unemployed by 1935. Smith’s image illustrates the despair of unemployed men who were unable to support their families. Many of the printmakers used linoleum as a matrix for relief prints because it was readily available, cheap, had a smooth surface, and was softer and more easily carved than wood. Linoleum is strong and conducive to printing a large edition, making it possible to distribute an image to a wide audience inexpensively.
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