Northwest Social Realism and the American Scene is an exhibition focused on Northwest artists and their depictions of scenes of everyday life in the Northwest during the 1930s through the 1950s. Many of the works reflect the industrial, political and social aspects of the Great Depression and WWII period.
Beginning in the late 1920s, younger American artists were turning away from the dominant influence of a completely unique representation of America. These artists utilized subject matter depicting elements of their individual regions and often celebrated the urban and rural environments as well as local industries and recreational activities.
On the other side of the spectrum, some Northwest artists used their talents to reflect their interest in communist and socialist ideology as well as labor causes and racial and class inequities. The Leftist movement was so strong in Washington State that in 1936, Postmaster General James Farley quipped…”There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington.”