Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Great Depression

The great depression was a period in history of worldwide economic instability that began in 1929 and ended in the 1930s and 1940s. It began in America and consequently spread to other ares of the world. The stock market crash in 1929 is seen as the initial event that caused the depression.
This period affected all aspects of people's lives. Personal areas of people lives changed drastically from the clothes they wore, the food they ate, and the recreational activities that they enjoyed. Income fell, jobs were lost, and companies failed. The fall of crop prices caused many rural and farming families to suffer. Because industries were doing poorly, jobs were not easily available. The only definable thing that fixed the economic state of the United States was the profitable nature of war. World War II allowed the United States to have infinite jobs and possibilities in commerce and trade.
Another major change that occurred during the war was the rise of women in the work force. So many men went off to fight in World War II, women were the only people remaining to work in the American jobs. Women learned many new skills in all areas of employment. This change in the social network caused problems later because women were expected to return back to being "housewives" after the war was over and that did not occur. Many women enjoyed the new challenges that they faced in the working world. They believed that they were just as talented and should be just as equal as men.

All of the events that I discussed above affected the appearance of artwork, how it was made, and why it was made. This is the main thing that this course has taught me. It also makes me think about how our artwork will be seen in the future and what it will say about our society, our culture and the world we live in. The artwork of the thirties is very diverse depending on where it was from and its purpose, this element of art will hopefully never change. All the images are from the 1930's and each one is not only unique because it was made a particular artist. The purpose and message of each is unique. The first shows the industrial age and manufacturing. The second is a sculpture that is very realistic and natural. The third is vibrant and meant to boost the US economy.

Image 1: Ernest Fiene's "The Lucy Plant Carnegie Steel"
Image 2: Aristide Maillol's "Homage a Debussy"
Image 3: F.H. Hogue CO's "Foot High Vegetables" Fruit Crate Art


Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Flickr


April G. said...

Original fruit crate labels can be worth quite a bit of money. In the 40's wooden boxes with labels were replaced with pre-printed cardboard boxes. Looking at the example provided, I'm not quite sure how the woman on the vegetable crate label is advertising the vegetables... She has her leg in the air and is leaning back on a pillow? This site explains that the themes of the labels represent the values and lifestyles of the people during that period of time. Thinking about it like that, it makes a bit more sense because of the fact that women were much more liberated at this time, than they had been in the past. But I still question why the content of the label didn't necessarily reflect what item was being held inside the crate?

gdhistory anderson becker carter said...

You make an interesting point. But products today do the same thing. More often than not, attractive people are linked to products even though the fact that they are attractive or posing in a particular way has nothing to do with the advertisement itself. Have you ever seen the Hardee's commercials with the girl eating the hamburger in a very provocative way. Unnecessary, yes. But probably effective to a particular market.

April G. said...

yup, I have seen those Hardee's commercials. I actually refuse to eat at Hardee's cause I hate their commercials so much! We all have to have something we dislike, right? :-) Yeah, I've never quite understood putting an attractive person on something, regardless of what it is, and thinking that that is going to sell the product. And, in a lot of cases it probably does. I just don't get it. However, I do understand what you said about the commercials being effective in a particular market. I'm thinking I'm not the demographic they are marketing themselves to. ;-)