Joseph Delaney (American, 1904-1991)
Saint Bleecker (also His Last Address) 1937
Oil on canvas
Gift of C. Leonard Pfeiffer
No longer the sole privilege of wealthy society, artists created portraits of everyday people as a way to call attention to the plight of individuals. Saint Bleecker depicts an elderly man who appears to have fallen on hard times, likely a result of the Great Depression.
The church on the right resembles Our Lady of Pompeii, located in Greenwich Village where Delaney lived. Does the church offer this man a symbol of hope despite his suffering in life? Or, is the artist questioning the role of faith in a time of hardship for the nation?