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Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts branch of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a government agency created in 1935 to find employment for people on public projects in response to the Great Depression. In December 1933 the ambitious Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was set up to create regional offices to employ artists, with Edward Bruce of the Treasury Department as national director. The successful program employed some 3749 artists across the country, but it was phased out by the summer of 1934. (Bruce later headed other programs under the Treasury Department that employed artists.)

With the relief needs of artists, writers, musicians and theater people unresolved and with the experimental climate of the New Deal still energizing legislation, Harry Hopkins of the WPA set up Federal Project No. 1 in August 1935, which had the most far-reaching cultural impact on the country. There were four cultural projects: Art, Music, Theatre and Writers. For the art project, ...

Article

Robert Winter

Guides to every state in the Union (and some of the major cities) that were written under the auspices of the Federal Writers Project created by the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The idea was part of Roosevelt’s attempt to find work for the thousands of Americans who had been left jobless by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Published between 1937 and 1942, each one began with short chapters on subjects such as political history, the arts, architecture, labor movements, economics and education. These were followed by sections on major cities and their resources. About half of each guide was devoted to a series of tours that might be taken along country roads as well as major highways. They included details of small towns that are still valuable to scholars.

The Federal Writers Project hired some important authors, but few of them wrote for the guides. They were composed by people of lesser note such as unknown college professors, amateur naturalists and architecture buffs. The great majority of the researchers were people who had no training in gathering facts but who nevertheless pursued them with care. One also suspects that the high quality of the finished products was the result of the work of capable editors....