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Obeisance to Poverty

by Walter Quirt

Quirt, a member of the American Artists’ Congress, began this surrealist painting in the year the Congress first met.  Quirt is criticizing the tendency of the public to romantically “elevate” and praise the poverty-stricken mothers who manage to keep their families together. 

It would be harder, but ultimately more helpful, if the public and leaders instead fought to solve the problems at the root of poverty.  The mother and child at the center of the image represent both poverty and the Christian Madonna and child, while the figures on the left represent various religious leaders.

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Walter Quirt, Obeisance to Poverty

Walter Quirt, Obeisance to Poverty, 1936/38.  Oil on gessoed panel, 11 ¾ x 15 ½ in.

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

Other Artwork Dealing With Anti-Poverty...
Joseph Hirsch Walter Quirt

Rural Poverty Urban Poverty Anti-Poverty Efforts Fall Short Labor Disputes
Ida Abelman
Thomas Hart Benton
Lucienne Bloch
Harry Brodsky
Paul Cadmus
Francis Chapin
Jack Delano
Phillip Evergood
George Gilbert
Hugo Gellert
Joseph Hirsch
Irwin Hoffman
Morris Huberland
Merritt Mauzey
Elizabeth Olds
Walter Quirt
Moses Soyer
Raphael Soyer
Lynd Ward

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