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Artist Refregier, Anton
Title Untitled
Date 1950 - 1955
Medium Mixed Media on Panel
Culture American
School Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Catalog Number 1975.58
Collection Modern Art Collection
Object Name Painting
Credit line Gift of Ben and Peggy Sackheim
Didactic Information The WPA Connection (8/9/14 - 7/5/15):
Born in Moscow, Russia, Anton Refregier emigrated to America and settled in New York in 1920. He soon earned a scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design and in 1927, traveled to Munich where he studied under noted artist Hans Hoffman. Refregier returned as an aspiring muralist struggling to make a living in the Depression era. Employed by the WPA's Federal Arts Project (FAP) for his abilities as a muralist, he was paid $23.86 a week (about $400 today) and given his own team of artists to manage. Refregier's murals consisted of images of the working man, scenes of the everyday, and agriculture. Untitled, 1950-1955, is an example of Refregier's shift back to personal subject-matter after the end of the Depression--a classic image the artist painting a reclining model with a seascape in the background. After the FAP concluded its program, Refregier resumed his work as an artist and teacher.
The Rincon Annex Post Office mural is known for its controversial pro-labor stance and frank narratives about California history. This panel describes the 1934 Waterfront Strike that crippled the city. It depicts a corrupt hiring boss accepting bribes in exchange for jobs, a labor organizer addressing dock workers, and "Bloody Thursday," when employers battled strikers to open the docks, which resulted in several injuries and the death of two longshoremen.