By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA.
December 31, 2001 11:28 AM   Subscribe

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA. From the website at the Library of Congress, the posters consist of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Of the 2,000 WPA posters known to exist, the Library of Congress's collection of more than 900 is the largest. These striking silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs; cultural programs including art exhibitions, theatrical, and musical performances; travel and tourism; educational programs; and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. For examples, see a poster on the health dangers of Syphilis and one for the play Alison's House: A Poetic Romance.
posted by moz (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Personally I like this syphilis poster. I especially love the Loch Ness monster in the background. I've used this poster as my desktop for about 3 months...and I crack up every time I look at it.
posted by plemeljr at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2001

This one nicely captures the WPA's mix of government-boosting with beautiful design. What a treasure trove. The resemblance to Soviet and Chinese Communist posters is obvious, but they're also similar to pro-industrial capitalism posters I've seen. Authority is authority, I guess.
posted by mediareport at 1:02 PM on December 31, 2001

This one is gorgeous. I'd give my eyeteeth to own a vintage copy of it.
posted by crunchland at 2:21 PM on December 31, 2001

American Memory is an amazing site...I've spent hours clicking through documents and squinting at manufacturing films.

On another note, when I was doing research on a defunct factory one of my "informants" lived in a home that had some amazing murals done by an artist through the WPA. Apparently a man showed up one day and asked if they wanted any painting done, and they let him do whatever he wanted. Very neat.
posted by kittyloop at 7:37 PM on December 31, 2001

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