New York: Victory Workshop of the Artist League of America, [ca. 1943]. In May 1942, the Artists League of America (ALA) was founded out of the dissolution of the American Artists’ Congress and the Artists’ Union. Its President was Rockwell Kent. The Victory Workshop, one of four smaller bodies within the ALA, was established to contribute to the broader war effort. Its primary contribution was a large exhibition titled “Art, a Weapon for Total War” at the New School for Social Research from March 29 - April 16, 1943.
According to the Victory Workshop, the exhibition’s aim was “...the complete utilization of all available manpower and resources, which requires that we AS ARTISTS, assume our special and important role in the field of education, design and morale. Through this exhibition we can demonstrate the many ways in which we as AS ARTISTS can serve.” For scholar Andrew Hemingway, the aim of the exhibition (and the Victory Workshop in general) “was to add a progressive political voice to the torrent of educational and propaganda material being put out by the federal government and many other voluntary, labour and business organisations” (see chapter 8, Artists on the Left: American Artists and the Communist Movement 1926-1956 ).
Artists were encouraged to submit their work across a variety of formats and to explore a number of themes, including Fascist totalitarianism, anti-Semitism, the contribution of blacks, women, and laborers to the war effort, etc. The exhibition’s sponsors included Francis Brennan, Chief, Graphics Division, Office of War Information, Rockwell Kent, Carl Zigrosser, William Gropper, Artists for Victory, and other respected progressive voices.
Included here are two items related to the exhibition: a document titled Preparatory Material for the Exhibition: ART, A WEAPON FOR TOTAL WAR, which includes the exhibition’s aim and a detailed list of topics, subject matter, media and forms, and a flyer that includes information on the exhibition, an application, and three detachable entry labels. The document is mimeographed on both sides of fragile 8 ½” x 11” sheets, which were originally stapled, but no longer, and are chipped, browned, with some closed tears and small nicks. The flyer is offset printed in burgundy on higher quality cream stock (8 ½” x 14”). Small closed tear to the top edge, center fold, as well preserved. Neither items found by us in OCLC. Scarce. Item #9288