Social realist social realism


In American art, the term references socio-political themes beginning in the 1920s and 1930s Depression period as led by Robert Henri and John Sloan. Some of these artists and their followers were also dubbed by critics as the ASHCAN school because themes addressed victims of the industrial revolution and the extremes of capitalism and often were depictions of ordinary people going about daily life---some of them beggars whose food came from alleys and 'ash cans'. Ash Can artists included George Luks, George Bellows, Everett Shinn and Ben Shahn. After World War II, Social Realism became an all-purpose term applied to realistic artwork of working classes. The meaning also took on the implication that it was artwork for the less sophisticated, those who could only relate to blatantly realistic styles and not to the subtleties of abstraction. Sources: ???Phaidon Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art???; AskART database; Robert Atkins, "Art Speak".