Exhibitions: For Bread Alone

The extent of federal art patronage in the U.S. from 1933 to 1943 would have made even the Medicis blush. Known mainly for its major program, the Works Progress Administration, Government benevolence kept artists, among others, alive during the Depression not only by the dole, but by work. In fact, it changed an era that otherwise could have been barren of artistic achievement into a germinal decade.

In eight years, WPA alone produced 18,800 sculptures, 108,000 easel paintings, 11,300 original prints, and 2,500 murals for public buildings. At its peak, it employed some 5,000 artists. As a current exhibition of...

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