Social Realism

Primary Source Set

Social realism was an art movement, associated with the era of the Great Depression in the US (roughly the 1930s), that depicted the everyday realities of life. Social realism was critical of the social, economic, and racial conditions that made life challenging for the working classes and poor. Social realism in the US took the form of painting, photography, literature, printing and drawing, sculpture, and more. Many of the artists were employed as part of the Depression-era programs of the New Deal, namely the Farm Security Administration and the Works Progress Administration. The resources in this set highlight the artists, art forms, and the subject matter that were central to the social realist movement.

Additional resources for research

  1. Social Realism, University of Virginia.
  2. Picturing the 1930s, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  3. Social Realism, The Art Story: Modern Art Insight.

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