This is a People's War

Arnold Blanch (1896-1968)
Date: 1938-1939
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 30 H x 48 W

Signed, lower left: Arnold Blanch

Provenance: Given to the donor, Doris Lee, by the artist
Credit: Gift of the estate of Doris Lee
Accession Number: 1984.33

Arnold Blanch's painting is a classic example of the Social-Realist style common in the United States in the 1930s. A militant crowd, representing all ages and many races and nations united by a common purpose, surges across the canvas. Representatives of the upper classes are notable absent from this group of gaunt men and women in work clothes. Blanch created a powerful propagandistic image of the working class, united and resolute, but what are they united about? The painting is a call to action for the masses to rally to the Allied cause in World War II. During the Great Depression, Blanch (and many others) used his art to portray social concerns, believing that politics can and should be mixed with art.