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96 artworks, 5 artists
Regionalism is an American realist modern art movement that arouse in the 1920s—1940s. The artists of regionalism turned to the theme of “real America” and created scenes of life of residents of the American Midwest, urban and rural views. The regionalist paintings combined the features of primitivism, expressionism, realism, the German “new objectivity” and became a stylistic branch of American genre painting. The artists did not want to paint general topics or fill their creativity with abstract ideology and philosophy; they sought to hail the originality of the country’s development and the idea of national exclusiveness.
The Great Depression, unemployment, anxiety about tomorrow demanded from the creators to revive people’s faith in their own strengths and greatness of the nation. The regionalists combined the principles of primitivism and naturalism, sought to imitate the paintings of self-taught artists of the 18—19th centuries, and used elements of stylization from American and Mexican folklore.
This specific painting style did not gain much popularity in the world, it existed until the end of the 1940s and went down in the history of art as a form of social protest and patriotism. The regionalist canvases emanated the pathos of a return to natural and national roots, irritation from exaggerated urbanization and emphasized class inequality. They called the regionalist artists “painting chauvinists”.
The regionalist paintings are distinguished by geometrically clear contours, a rigid fixed composition, a meticulous and pedantic pictorial depiction. The artists convey objects and phenomena in detail, immerse their subjects in a flat space. The image resembles a painting with hardened plastic, pure tones and local monochromatic areas. The themes of the paintings became a characteristic feature of the art movement: portraits of farmers and everyday life scenes, small cities, characteristic local landscapes with gardens and kitchen gardens. Patriotism, nostalgia for “real America”look idealized, on the brink of a grotesque. The style combines nationalist conservatism and elements of evil irony, social criticism.