Lecture presented about Regionalist artists during The Great Depression

Like all others that lived during the Great Depression, artists struggled to make ends meet. IHCC Arts Gallery Director Mark McWhorter discussed the implications of the Great Depression on Regionalist artists Sunday at the Eldon Library Hall.

The Regionalist art style was made famous by artists who focused on ignoring city life and advancements in technology to depict the rural lifestyle.

It became popular during the 1930s for its well known images of the Heartland.

One of the style's pioneers was Iowa's very own Grant Wood.

"Grant Wood was one of the artists that was asked to produce prints multiple times by the organizers of this as well as Thomas Hart Benton and John Curry," said McWhorter. "And a few of the other fairly well known Regionalist painters, artists."

The Great Depression influenced everybody in the United States including these Regionalist artists.

During the Depression, an organization called the Associated American Artists offered these Regionalist artists at least a minimal amount of employment.

"Many of these artists were having a hard time making ends meet," said McWhorter. "And Associated American Artists allowed them to produce a series of prints that were then sold by subscription to people all over the United States and actually became international."

So these Regionalists created prints for the organization--mainly lithographs.

The prints were offered at low prices, usually five dollars per piece of art.

"And so they were collected by so many people," said McWhorter. "People not just in big cities with a lot of money. But farmers and people in smaller towns were collecting these avidly."

Depending on the artist, some of these original prints can be sold today for thousands of dollars.