The Protest Artist
- Courtesy UW Libraries Special Collections, Correll Prints and Papers
- Vineyard March by Richard Correll.
Far from the sliding glass doors and blinking computers and information desks, down in the basement of Allen Library at the University of Washington, there's a stark exhibition of black-and-white prints on paper: a mother so gaunt that she looks like a robot
, with two children burying their faces in her ungiving chest (Hunger
, 1937). A line of striking farm workers carrying placards across the horizon, with rows of crops rising up to join them (Vineyard March
, 1970). A night scene: paddy wagon parked outside the house, three officers with batons, one holding back the wife, one pushing the husband into the truck, the third in the shadows, his baton lifted, about to crack down on an unseen someone
on the ground (Raid
Each image is a powerful and beautifully designed print informed by the expressionism, abstraction, and muralism of early-20th-century worldwide art.
The artist is Richard V. Correll, a scarcely known Works Progress Administration artist in Seattle in the 1930s. In his time, he was recognized as a master printmaker. He also protested on behalf of every good cause of the 20th century.
- The shape of the print echoes the shape of the paddywagon's light. Correll is checking the checkers.