The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

William Gropper

William Gropper, Memories, 1944

William Gropper (American, 1897-1977)
Memories 1944
Oil on canvas
Gift in memory of Ann & Ben Epstein

As witness to his parents’ harsh work experiences in New York’s garment district sweatshops, William Gropper had a vested interest in workers’ rights and other social causes. Like other Depression-era artists, he believed art could effect positive change and used it to critique capitalism and expose social injustices. The figures in this painting appear downtrodden and defeated, yet the raised fists suggest a defiance, perhaps even the start of an uprising.