International Journal of History and Philosophical Research (IJHPHR)

EA Journals

Ben Shahn’s Sunday Paintings: Transformation of a Social Realist


Ben Shahn’s exhibition of Sunday Paintings (1940) evidenced the metamorphosis of one of America’s foremost social realists. A variety of personal and professional factors compelled Shahn to reevaluate his artistic direction. This essay helps explain the artist’s metamorphosis by exploring 1) a shift in American art criticism in favor of modernism, and 2) Shahn’s involvement with the Resettlement/Farm Security Administration and his development of a photographic aesthetic. The aim is to elucidate primary reasons for the stylistic shift of a major twentieth-century American painter.

Keywords: Ben Shahn, New Deal, Photography, Social Realism, Sunday Paintings

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Print ISSN: 2055-0030
Online ISSN: 2055-0049

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