The Great Depression and Communism

The Great Depression and Communism

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In 1929 when the Wall Street crash gave rise to debilitating poverty in rural America, many artists in America began to sympathize with the far left politically, but now many of them are forgotten.  Many artists wanted their revolutionary art to cause a revolution.  

The late twenties was the time when poverty was rising rapidly; especially among textile workers as well as miners. There are classic examples of American racism, injustice and prejudice against foreign born people.

Lots of artists in America at the time were foreign born and they started supporting Communism.  The Wall Street Crash ensured that capitalism was not working anymore and on the other hand the Soviet Union was booming under Communist Government. Also in Europe fascism was taking over Italy and Germany.

Gan Kolski

Slowly the Communist Party of the USA began to be represented by a huge number of artists and gradually the artists and writers started to think that if they were not a member of the Communist Party, it would be a disadvantage. However, John Reeds Club, which was explicitly communist and which supported many artists and writers was shut down.  Communism became anti-Americanism and this remained until the end of the Cold War.

Gan Kolshi

Gan Kolsi was born in Poland in 1899. He later on shifted to New York on Horatio Street. He used to live near the Greenwich Village which could be considered a hub for rising artists.  Kolski used to produce illustrations in the New Masses which was a radical left magazine. He was a regular participant at exhibitions sponsored by the John Reed Club which was an organization people who followed the ideology of Karl Marx.  

gan kolski

Most of Kolshi’s paintings showcased laborers working under risky circumstances. He has done a very beautiful job in Steel and Milk. This painting of the horse below the skyscrapers shows the juxtaposition of urban life and rural life, the new fashion versus the old fashion.  The painting brings out the anxiety in the world that is modernizing.  Another painting by Kolshi named as Steam representing a sailor and a woman and the city behind them which is framed and contained the arch of a bridge.  

Although Kolsi could not become as well known as some of his contemporaries, but it is also because that he lived a very short life. When he was 33, he committed suicide by jumping from New York’s George Washington Bridge. His death deprived the world of a truly gifted artist.

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