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Support: LANA PUR FIL cream wove paper
Sheet: 48.6 x 38 cm (19 1/8 x 14 15/16 in.); Image: 30.3 x 23 cm (11 15/16 x 9 1/16 in.)
Gift of Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro 1998.11.5
© VAGA, New York, NY
In addition to printmaking, Hale Woodruff was a well-known muralist and studied with the Mexican master Diego Rivera.
This print belongs to a series that Hale Woodruff created while living and teaching in Atlanta. Although he had worked primarily in abstraction previously, Woodruff's time in the South inspired him to move toward a more representational art that dealt with contemporary social issues—especially the legacy of racism. Here, a mob of white men prepares to lynch an African American man who stands bound in the back of a wagon. The men's threatening expressions and gestures combine with the stark tonal reversal of the print to suggest the irrevocable violence and injustice of the scene. Although such lynchings increased in frequency during the 1930s, formalized anti-lynching legislation failed to find support when it was proposed in 1935.
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