by Thomas Hart Benton
Made while working for the Associated American Artists (AAA), Benton’s Strike is a heroic depiction of mine workers on strike, bravely confronting the faceless militia firing on them.
Strike is based on the drawings Benton did during the summer of 1928 while touring coal mines in West Virginia.
Benton had a long history of sympathy for common workers, and was involved in several leftist political groups until the 1930s. However, this lithograph is not a simple, compassionate portrait of miners – the figure running away from the conflict on the right side complicates the scene with his cowardliness, and heightens its realism.