Dust Bowl by Albert Abramovitz

Dust Bowl by Albert Abramovitz

Dust Bowl

Albert Abramovitz

Title

Dust Bowl

 
Artist
Year
c. 1935  
Technique
blockprint 
Image Size
6 1/2 x 7 7/8" image 
Signature
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
under 25 
Annotations
 
Reference
 
Paper
smooth ivory wove 
State
published 
Publisher
WPA??? 
Inventory ID
MIST102 
Price
$600.00 
Description

Albert Abramovitz was born in Russia in 1879 and came to America in 1916. Abramowitz did a number of prints for the New York WPA-PWAP (Public Works of Art Project) many of which depicted the trials and every-day lives of people during the Great Depression.

This blockprint depicts a family, with everything they owned on their persons, trudging along a country road while a dust storm swirls in the background.

In the early 20th century during the demand for wheat during WWI U.S. farmers plowed millions of acres of grassland to plant wheat. As we began to enter the Great Depression the Midwest and Southern Great Plains also experienced a major drought, which killed the vegetation and exposed the topsoil and led to massive dust storms. The property became worthless and families were force to move, many heading for California (i.e. "The Grapes of Wrath") for the San Joaquin Valley.

These Dust Bowl refugees were called “Okies.” Okies faced discrimination, menial labor and pitiable wages upon reaching California. Many of them lived in shantytowns and tents along irrigation ditches. “Okie” soon became a term of disdain used to refer to any poor Dust Bowl migrant, regardless of their state of origin.