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by Julius T. Bloch

Bloch was well known for his portraits of Depression-era subjects especially the African-American man. The Negro History Bulletin (December 1956) announced that Bloch is “widely recognized for his psychological character studies of the Negro.”

The anguish of the figure here is clearly evident in the face and hands. What about the way the hands are depicted helps you understand the prisoner’s stress and pain? 

During the 1930s Bloch’s lithographs regularly appeared in the political magazine New Masses.  When poet Langston Hughes saw Bloch’s The Prisoner in New Masses, he asked him to donate a copy of the lithograph to help raise money to defend blacks in the trials of the Scottsboro Boys.  Bloch did so.  The trials concerned nine young black youths who were falsely accused and convicted by all-white juries of raping two white girls in Alabama. (Eisen 21-28, Landau 17)

Learn more about this artist:

Artist Biography

Lesson Plans

Julius Block - Prisoner

Julius T.  Bloch, Prisoner, 1930s. Lithograph, 13 ¼ x 9 7/8  in.

Museum Purchase, Derby Fund, from the Philip J. and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930-1970

Within Race Relations...
George Biddle Adolf Dehn Jacob Lawrence Jacob Lawrence Julius T. Bloch George Tooker

Race Relations Anti-Semitism Lynching
Spirituality Civil Rights
Romare Bearden
George Biddle
Julius T. Bloch
Adolf Dehn
Joseph Delaney
Boris Gorelick
Robert Gwathmey
Joe Jones
Jacob Lawrence
Louis Lozowick
Ben Shahn
George Tooker
James Turnbull

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