New Deal Book Reviews

American Expressionism: Art and Social Change 1920-1950, by Bram Dijkstra

When in 1953 right-wingers sought to destroy Anton Refregier’s great mural cycle at Rincon Annex Post Office as “Un-American,” San Francisco’s art and political establishment united to successfully defend the iconic work—a masterpiece of New Deal social realism. Refregier, a… read more

Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art, by Robert W. Cherny

In a 1935 interview, The San Francisco Chronicle quoted New Deal artist Victor Arnautoff, who said, “As I see it, the artist is a critic of society.” In a new biography of Arnautoff, (1896 –1979), Robert Cherny recounts the political… read more

Wisconsin Post Office Mural Guidebook, by David W. Gates, Jr.

As a through hiker on the Appalachian Trail some years back, David W. Gates Jr. would stop to pick up the supplies he had mailed to himself at the tiny post offices along the route that were his lifeline during… read more

The Public Landscape of the New Deal, by Phoebe Cutler

I recently plucked a book off the shelf of my library and found the answer to a question I’m often asked: How did you discover the New Deal? I first read Phoebe Cutler’s pioneering book The Public Landscape of the… read more

New Deal Utopias, by Jason Reblando

Over three years Jason Reblando, a Chicago artist and photographer, trained his camera on three Greenbelt towns — Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin— constructed during the Depression to house poor Americans, many of them displaced from the Dust… read more