Isaac Soyer’s Employment Agency, a 1937 oil painting, offered one of the decade’s most sensitive efforts at depicting the anxiety and sense of isolation felt by millions of depression- era job hunters. SOURCE:Isaac Soyer,Employment Agency,1937.Oil on canvas,(87 x114.3cm) 34 1/2” x 45”.Whitney Museum of American Art,New York.
Dorothea Lange captured the lonely despair of unemployment in White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco, 1933. During the 1920s, Lange had specialized in taking portraits of wealthy families, but by 1932, she could no longer stand the contradiction between her portrait business and “what was going on in the street.” She said of this photograph: “There are moments such as these when time stands still and all you can do is hold your breath and hope it will wait for you.” SOURCE:Copyright,the Dorothea Lange Collection,The Oakland Museum of California,City of Oakland.Gift of Paul S.Taylor.
Publicity poster for the movie The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which depicted the journey of the Joad family from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the promised land of California. Director John Ford’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s best selling novel reflected the influence of the “documentary impulse” in Hollywood films and other forms of Depression-era popular culture.
Reginald Marsh, Twenty Cent Movie, 1936. Marsh documented the urban landscape of the 1930s with great empathy, capturing the city’s contradictory mix of commercialism, optimism, energy, and degradation. The popularity of Hollywood films and their stars reached new heights during the Great Depression. SOURCE:Reginald Marsh,Twenty Cent Movie,1936.Egg tempera on composition board.40” x 40”.Whitney Museum of American Art,New York.