Painting / mural

Item no. 26006
New York
Occupation: Manufacturing: garment
Collection: Library

This detail from the painting "Welders" by artist Ben Shahn was featured on the cover of an issue of the Magazine of Art from 1946 devoted to investigating the connection between art and labor. The magazine highlighted an experimental collaboration between two unions, the ILGWU and the National Maritime Union, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The illustration appears to be a detail of a poster hung in many union halls in the early-1940s that used Shahn’s painting to urge workers to register to vote. In a style known as social realism, Shahn explored issues of labor in painting, drawing and photography, producing work for unions, not-for-profit organizations, and the federal government.   

More of this story is told in Cultural Initiatives – The Union Meets the Met, a section of the Labor Arts exhibit The ILGWU: Social Unionism in Action.

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