Social Injustice: The Prints of William Gropper will be on display Oct. 15 to Dec. 9 at the Daura Gallery with an opening reception Oct. 16 from 4 – 5:30 p.m.
This exhibition of more than 50 works, primarily lithographs, includes works on the subjects of the miseries of poverty and unemployment, middle-class materialism, lawmakers and law enforcers, the garment district, and racial discrimination.
Gropper was born in New York City in 1897 to Jewish immigrants from Romania and the Ukraine. Gropper’s interest in art started in childhood with chalk drawings. Later, his talents earned him a scholarship to the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.
Like other Social Realist Artists of this period, Gropper was interested in social problems and humanitarian concerns. Injustices undoubtedly influenced the younger Gropper’s lifelong antipathy to capitalism.
He was a virulent critic of social injustices and the over-privileged, and made contributions to a vast array of communist publications. Though he was never a formal member of the Communist Party, Gropper’s work drew enough attention during the 1950s for him to be called before the House Un-American Activities Committee — providing motivation for a series of lithographs.
A trip to post-war Poland in 1948 provided Gropper with another inspiration; for each year thereafter he paid tribute to Holocaust victims through depictions of Jewish life.