American Art Before 1940

Thomas Hart Benton - American Regionalist
Sacco and Vanzetti, Ben Shahn's Cause
Robert Henri
The Whitney Museum of American Art - View the Fifth Floor for work by the following artists (and more).
Early 20th Century Documentary Photography in America
United States and Canada, 1900–present

The Stag at Sharkey's, George Bellows - American Ashcan School Painter (1882-1925), 1909.

"Despite a short career -- he died at 43 -- Bellows was one of Ashcan's stars. Stag at Sharkey's embodies the grittiness, violence, and masculinity of the new city. In 1909, when Bellows completed this painting, prizefighting was illegal in New York. Athletic clubs such as Sharkey's were the equivalent of Prohibition's speakeasies -- illegal, but they did a booming business. In Bellows's boxing match, the spectators are vulgar; their expressions indicate that they are at least as violent as the match they are watching. But the boxers themselves are reminiscent of stags in nature, still graceful while locked in combat." [PBS Source]

Dempsey and Firpo, George Bellows, 1924. More info on the "Fight of All the Ages" here.

Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley, Thomas Hart Benton - American Regionalist (1889-1975), 1934.
The figure playing harmonica in the foreground is Jackson Pollock, Benton's student and friend.

The Hailstorm, Thomas Hart Benton, 1940.

Persephone, Thomas Hart Benton, 1939.

For information on the goddess Persephone, click here for Mythography's essay and here for an ancient vase depicting the goddess and her typical entourage and setting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

American Gothic, Grant Wood - American Regionalist (1891-1942), 1930. Wood was very inspired by Northern Renaissance art.

The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, Ben Shahn - American Social Realist (1898-1969), 1931-32.

Poster in protest of the exection of Sacco and Vanzetti, Ben Shahn. See link above.

Twenty-Cent Movie, Reginald Marsh - American Social Realist Painter (1898-1954), 1936.

Marsh inspired much of the Zap Underground in the work of artists like Robbie Williams and Robert Crumb. He also taught pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. See also Pop Art and Pop Surrealists. Also, check out Juxtapoz.

Coney Island, Reginald Marsh, 1953.

Why Not Take the L?, Reginald Marsh, 1930.

Irish Girl, Robert Henri (born Robert Henry Cozad) - American Ashcan School Leader (1865-1929), 1913.

Gas, Edward Hopper - American Scene Painter(1882-1967), 1940.

New York Interior, Edward Hopper, c. 1926, Whitney Museum of American Art.

"Whom did I meet? Nobody. I'd heard of Gertrude Stein, but I don't remember having heard of Picasso at all. I used to go to the cafés at night and sit and watch. I went to the theatre a little. Paris had no great or immediate impact on me." -- Edward Hopper on his time in Paris. [Source, quoting from Lives of the Great 20th-Century Artists, by Edward Lucie-Smith]

Woman Combing Her Hair, Edgar Degas, 1886.

An undeclared influence on Hopper was without question Edgar Degas, especially his interiors.
For more on Degas, click here.

Soir Bleu, Edward Hopper, 1914, Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Luncheon of the Boating Party, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), 1881 (Phillips Collection, Washington DC).

Chop Suey, Edward Hopper, 1929.

New York Movie, Edward Hopper, 1939.

Nighthawks, Edward Hopper, 1942.

Migrant Mother (Florence Owens Thompson), Dorothea Lange - Documentary Photographer/Photojournalist (1895-1965), 1936.

For more information and images from this period, please check out the following links at The Metropolitan Museum's Timeline of Art History:

Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and His Circle

Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and American Photography

Early Documentary Photography

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986)

Photography and Surrealism

Walker Evans (1903-1975)