CURRENT AND UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS
William Gropper style
October 27 - November 6, 2018
In this crunch period with so much riding on these midterms elections, Figureworks is remounting this political series by William Gropper to encourage the importance of voting and help change some of these bored and smug faces as still seen in Gropper's Senate series from 1973 - over 40 years ago.
After the last primary, Figureworks showcased a body of works by artist William Gropper (1897-1997), whose career spanned over 50 years of challenging American politics. This exhibition highlights Gropper’s final series surrounding Nixon’s Watergate scandal in the 1970’s.
Gropper was born in New York City in 1897. His parents, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Ukraine, were both employed in the garment industry and the family lived in poverty. His father was university-educated and fluent in 8 languages, but was unable to find suitable employment in America. The failure of the American economic system to make proper use of his father's talents contributed to William Gropper's lifelong antipathy to capitalism.
In his teenage years, Gropper attended the Ferrer Modern School in New York City, an avant-garde school promoted by anarchist Emma Goldman. Gropper studied under the prominent artists George Bellows and Robert Henri. A committed radical, Gropper began his career illustrating for such publications as The Revolutionary Age, The Liberator, The New Masses, The Worker, and The Morning Freiheit.
Due to his involvement in subversive politics in the 1920s and 1930s and his 1946 painting entitled “William Gropper’s America: Its Folklore”, Gropper was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Blacklisted for the next 20 years, the experience fueled an ambitious series of fifty lithographs entitled Caprichos, from Goya’s 1790’s series. Gropper’s Capriccios presented a vivid, specific response to McCarthyism, resonating deeply with the underprivileged public and enraging the corrupt, domineering politicians.
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Williamsburg • Brooklyn, NY 11211
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