William Victor "Bill" Gropper was a U.S. Cartoonist, painter, lithographer, and muralist born in New York City. A commited radical, Gropper is best known for the political work which he contributted to such left wing publications.
At age 13, he took his first art instruction at the radical Ferrer School, where he studied under George Bellows and Robert Henri.
Trigg Ison Fine Art proudly presents the works on of artist William Gropper
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"I love people and when I draw or paint it comes out people, and the landscape is what these people make it."
New York City, December 3, 1987
Under Robert Henri, George Bellows and Howard Giles. National Academy of Design, New York School of Fine and Applied Art.
A.C.A. and other New York Galleries; Exhibitions in Detroit, Cold Spring Harbor, Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Chicago, Coral Gables, Mexico City, London, Warsaw, Coventry, Paris.
Represented in permanent collections of Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Chicago Art Institute, Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, Los Angeles County Museum, St. Louis Museum, Newark Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Library of Congress, University of Arizona, Wadsworth Atheneum, Butler Institute, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Encyclopedia Britannica Collection, Paul Sachs Collection, Tel-Aviv Museum of Israel, Museum of Western Art, Moscow, Abbot Art Collection, and many others.
Guggenheim Fellowship, Wanamaker Prize, Collier Prize, Carnegie International, Los Angeles County Purchase Award
New Interior Building, Washington, D.C.; Post Office Buildings at Freeport, L.I. and Detroit, Michigan. Also Schenley Corporation Building.
For Additional Biographical Data, See "Who's Who in American Art, 1962".
William Gropper has been compared variously with Hogarth and Daumier, with Goya and Bellows. The latter was indeed his teacher, as was the famed Robert Henri. And it is true that Gropper follows in the tradition of all these incisive profound commentators on the human condition and the human scene. If he has won a distinctive place for himself in the long history of art, it is because he has been so able a visual protagonist for man's deepest consience and most universal sympathies.
It is perhaps the word 'universal' that is the key that unlocks the door of understanding of his work. As one critic put it, "the expression of contemporary social issues is always executed in the arts at the obvious risk of losing a sense of perspective, of being too close to immediate issues to assess their permanent value. Yet in the work of William Gropper these expressions always transcend their transient nature to assume universal connotations".
For the same reason that characters of Shakespeare and Dickens, of Tolstoy and Dostoievsky seem to breathe the same air that we do and enjoy the same pleasures, to love the same objects and fear the same fears, so do the patient, passionate, long-enduring people of Gropper's world seem to live at our sides. It is the ability to solve this problem of identification with the onlooker in a visual manner that gives Gropper the unique stature that is his.
In color, composition, plasticity and line, Gropper has been singularly willing to utilize the lessons of the past. A master of line and distortion in his own right, he has yet studied modestly and thoughtfully the lessons of cubism and expressionism to gain added strength from their discoveries in form and color.
1921 New York. Washington Square Bookshop. First show of monotypes.
1936 New York. ACA Galleries. First one-man show of paintings.
1937 New York. ACA Galleries
1938 New York. ACA Galleries
1939 New York. ACA Galleries
1940 New York. ACA Galleries
Pittsburgh. Contemporary Book Shop.
1941 New York. ACA Galleries
1948 Prague, Czechoslovakia. SVU Manes
Warsaw Museum. Show travels to Sopot, Poland, and Moscow.
Sofia, Bulgaria. Bulagria Academy of Art
1950 Paris Galerie Benezit.
1951 New York. American Artists Association.
1954 New York. ACA Galleries.
Detroit Garelick Gallery.
1956 London. Piccadilly Gallery. Travels to coventry.
Miami Beach, FL. Art Center
Cambridge, MA. Gropper Art Galleries
1957 Mexico City, La Galeria del Frente Nacional des Artes. 100 Lithographs
1959 Los Angeles. Silvan Simone Gallery
1960 Los Angeles. Silvan Simone Gallery
1961 New York. ACA Galleries
Los Angeles Heritage Gallery
1962 New York. ACA Galleries
San Fancisco. Galerie de Tours
1964 Rome, ACA Galleries. Travels through Italy
San Francisco. Galerie de Tours
San Francisco. B. Horowich Center
Chicago. Rosenstone Art Gallery
New Haven, CT. Jewish Center
1965 New York. American Artists Association. Etchings
Orono, ME. University of Maine
Evansville, IN. Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences
San Francisco. Galerie de Tours
1966 New York. Herzl Institute
1967 Los Angeles. Heritage Gallery
Manhasset, L.I. Collectors Gallery
San Francisco . Don Conacher Gallery
River Forest, IL. Rosary College
1968 Miami, FL. University of Miami. Retrospective. Travels to Pheonix Art
Museum, AZ, Palm Springs Desert Museum, California, Syracuse, University School of Art, New York, and Mont Clair Art Museum, New Jersey.
1970 New York. ACA Galleries.
1971 Los Angeles. Heritage Gallery.
New York ACA Galleries. Gropper: Fifty Years of Drawing, 1921-1971.
Travels to Canton Art Institute, Ohio, Tyler Museum of Art, Texas and
St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY.
1972 Charleston, SC. Gibbes Art Gallery
Long Beach, CA. Long Beach Museum of Art. Paintings and Graphics from
collectors and museums of California.
1897 Born December 3 on Lower East Side of New York, first of six children of Harry and Jenny Gropper, who work in garment district sweatshops.
1911 Graduates from grammar school and works at odd jobs.
1912 Attends evening art classes at Ferrer School under Robert Henri and George Bellows until 1915.
1913 Armory Show has a powerful effect on Gropper.
1915 While working in a clothing shop, studies on part-time scholarship at New School of Fine and Applied Art (until 1918).
1917 Employed as cartoonist by New York Tribune Sunday section.
1918 Awarded Collier Prize for an illustration.
1919 Fired by Tribune because cartoons drawn for IWW's Rebel Worker. Begins free-lancing cartoons and drawings for the Liberator and other magazines.
1920 Goes to Cuba; returns four months later to attend father's funeral. Marries Gladys Oaks (Divorced 1924)
1921-23 Painting becomes a major interest. Begins illustrating books. Contributes to widening circle of magazines including Revolutionary Age, Smart Set, the Dial, Pearson's Magazine (Frank Harris, editor)
1924 Six-month trip with friend Morris Pass to the West, painting signs and sketching. On his return marries Sophie Frankel, a bacteriologist. Joins Freiheit as staff cartoonist (1924-48)
1925 Joins New York Sunday World (1925-27), Contributes column of drawings to Advance, published by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
1926 Helps found the New Masses and becomes a frequent contributor.
1927 Visits Russia, together with Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis for tenth anniversary of the Revolution. Travels and sketches in USSR for a year.
1928 First son, Gene, born in Paris.
1930 Delegate to Kharkov Conference of Writers and Artists, Russia.
1931 Receives Young Israel Prize
1932 Son Lee born in New York City. Construction of house in Cronton-on Hudson, New York, built largely by the Gropper's themselves which will be their home for thirty-nine years.
1934 Paints two murals, The Bacardi Bar and Wine Festival, for Schenley Corporation.
1935 Japanese government protests Gropper's Vanity Fair cartoon of Hirohito and demands apology (Secretary of State Cordell Hull claims he has no control over the press). Mural for Hotel Taft, New York City, on colonial American themes.
1936 First one Man Show of paintings at ACA Galleries, New York. (Sub-sequently Gropper will have a full-scale exhibition somewhere in the world almost every year.) Helps to organize American Artists' Congress. Mural for Freeport Long Island, post office (WPA project completed 1938). Buys lithograph press and prints limited editions.
1937 Travels on Guggenheim Fellowship to the Dust Bowl making studies for a series of paintings; also visits Boulder (now Hoover) and Grand Coulee dams. Uses sketches from trip in mural, The Construction of a Dam, for Department of Interior (1937-39). Paintings by Gropper are hung in Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York.
1938 Mural on theme of automobile industry for Northwestern Postal Station. Detroit (transferred to Wayne State University, Detroit, in 1971).
1939 Los Angeles Country Museum Purchase Prize.
1940 Celebration at Mecca Temple, New York, of twentieth anniversary of Gropper's career drawing for liberal publications.
1940-45 Preoccupied during war years with anti-Nazi work, including cartoons, pamphlets, war bond posters. Also serves as air raid warden.
1943 Selected by War Department Art Advisory Committee to go to Africa and make a pictorial record of the war front there. After months of preparation and physical examinations, Gropper (along with Philip Evergood and Anton Refregier) is denied a passport by the State Department.
1944 First prize in lithography, Artist for Victory exhibition at Metropolitan Museum. Joins Associated American Artists gallery.
1945 Covers United Nations charter conference at San Francisco for Freiheit and the New Masses.
1946 Carnegie Annual third prize for Don Quixote No. 1.
1947 Becomes a founder of Artists Equity Association. Teaches at American Art School, New York.
1948 Attends Congress of Intellectuals for Peace at Wroclaw, Poland. Works, travels, and exhibits in Poland, Russia, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria until 1950.
1953 Is called to appear before McCarthy Committee; Gropper's refusal to cooperate leads to loss of commissions and various forms of harassment.
1953-56 Creates Caprichos, fifty lithographs based on the McCarthy inquisition.
1954 Returns to ACA Galleries with new exhibition of paintings. Effects of McCarthysism; no subsequent show in New York until 1961.
1956-65 Over forty one-man shows in the United States and abroad.
1965-67 Stained-glass windows for Temple Har Zion, River Forest, IL.
1967 Tamarind Lithographic Workshop Award, a Ford Foundation subsidy.
1968-70 Retrospective exhibition travels through United States. Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters. Artist-in-residence, Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Indiana.
1970 Creates The Shtetl, a set of four color lithographs.
1971 Major exhibition of drawings begins traveling in United States. Moves into new home in Gret Neck, NY. Designs cover to accompany World Federation of United Nations Associations stamp issue.
1977 Dies January 7.