HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE

MEET ME AT EVENT: Friday, July 20th at 10 A.M.

Click here to view details on the ArtBerkshires MEET ME AT PAGE.

A Promising Venture

Shaker Photographs from the WPA 

 

As part of the “New Deal” response to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the federal government established the WPA (Works Progress Administration). In addition to infrastructure improvements performed by the CCC, the WPA oversaw the Federal Art Project, commissioning public works of art such as murals, easel paintings and sculptures. Seizing the opportunity to celebrate truly American art forms, the Federal Art Project also set out to catalog American design, dispatching watercolorists, easel artists, and photographers throughout the country to create portfolios for the Index of American Design. An early priority of the Index was the cataloging of Shaker furniture, architecture, and craft. Photographer Noel Vicentini visited Watervliet and Mount Lebanon, NY, as well as Hancock, MA. His work at all three sites was facilitated by seminal Shaker collectors, Faith and Edward Andrews. The whole collection of Vicentini’s photographs are housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of his work at Shaker sites will be shown at Hancock Shaker Village in 2012 and 2013, more than 75 years after he helped to endear the Shaker aesthetic in the minds of American citizens.

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