Menu Search
Movements
Artists
About Us
Blog
Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Social Realism

Social Realism

Social Realism Collage

Started: 1929

Ended: Late 1950s

"To me propaganda is a holy word."

Ben Shahn Signature

Synopsis

The Social Realist political movement and artistic explorations flourished primarily during the 1920s and 1930s, a time of global economic depression, heightened racial conflict, the rise of fascist regimes internationally, and great optimism after both the Mexican and Russian revolutions. Social Realists created figurative and realistic images of the "masses," a term that encompassed the lower and working classes, labor unionists, and the politically disenfranchised. American artists became dissatisfied with the French avant-garde and their own isolation from greater society, which led them to search for a new vocabulary and a new social importance; they found their purpose in the belief that art was a weapon that could fight the capitalist exploitation of workers and stem the advance of international fascism.

Key Ideas

Most Important Art

History and Concepts

Key Artists

Quotes

Share