|Acquisition Number: 81.96.2
Lithograph on paper
18 x 14 in.
Credit: Gift from Mr. Theodore H. Cohen, Jr.
By the mid 1920s, William Gropper had established himself as a major satirical artist and lithography, silkscreening, and etching became one of his most potent weapons for launching his attacks against corporations and politics. His work focused on the common man, the human condition, and political injustices. Gropper’s parents were Jewish immigrants who worked in the sweatshops of New York City’s garment district. Their dignity in the face of hardship influenced their oldest son, who wrote, “I’m from the old school, defending the underdog.”
Gropper’s "Unfinished Symphony Series" is one of many lithographs created in 1967 when he was a primary artist in residence at the prestigious Tamarind Lithography Workshop. When Tamarind opened in 1960, lithography was thought to be a dead art form, practiced by few printmakers. Tamarind revitalized lithography and guaranteed its future. Assisted by master printer Fred Genis, each "Symphony" lithograph bears the Tamarind Workshop blindstamp in the lower right margin. The "Unfinished Symphony Series" has a total of nine lithographs, of which the museum has eight.