An original lithograph of a band by William Gropper
Untitled, 1953, William Gropper
"I have the honor of being the first artist to have been blacklisted by McCarthy..." ~ Bill Gropper
William Gropper (1897-1977) was born in the Lower East Side of New York City to a Romanian and Ukrainian Jewish immigrant family. He studied art at the Ferrer School under the legendary American artist George Bellows, and had a brief stint at the National Academy of Design. His career took off in 1915 when he entered the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Throughout his life, he did some of the most influential and humorous satirical cartoons, murals, and lithographs of the 20th century, including parodies of major world leaders, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
However, it was his work with leftist magazines, including The Liberator that supported socialist and anti-militaristic politics that would gain him the ire of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1953, the same year as this lithograph's creation, he was called to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Although he was never a member of the Communist party in America, they were suspicious of his involvement with known radicals. McCarthy blacklisting Gropper effectively damaged his career after that decade. Despite this setback, his outrage with the Red Scare would lead Gropper to create one of the greatest works of his life, The Capriccios.
This powerful image of a jazz club shows African-American performers dancing and playing the vibrant music. An excellent 1950s lithograph, it not only reflects the popularity of jazz music at the time, but exudes the very mood and rhythm of it. A rather jovial image, it was most likely created before May that year when he was called before the Committee.
- Onastasia Youssef
Plate size: 12" x 9"
Sheet size: 14.25" x 10.75"
Condition: In excellent condition