Steven M. Gelber, Lydia Modi Vitale, and de Saisset Art Gallery and Museum
Traditionally, the years of the New Deal projects have been treated as a part of the "Depression experience" with an emphasis on their economic and social dimensions. Until recently, sporadic interest in the art of the period has usually focused on individual artists, not general movements in the art of the time. This has been particularly true in the western states.
The purpose of the New Deal Art: California exhibition was to create an overview of the New Deal art projects by bringing together examples of art from the federal art programs in California.
New Deal Art: California came about as the result of a chance remark made, by Dr. Francis V. O'Connor, Art Historical Consultant, on his first trip to the de Saisset Art Gallery and Museum in 1971. The original exploratory research he did revealed a wealth of information about California's contribution to the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project and the Treasury Programs.
Dr. O'Connor's initial work helped provide the foundation for two years of subsequent research into the historical and aesthetic climate that gave birth to New ,Deal Art in California. The results of our explorations, in both quantity and quality of resources, has far exceeded our original expectations.
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