Gropper, William

Gropper, William,

1897–1977, American painter and cartoonist, b. New York City. Gropper studied painting under Henri and Bellows. Employed as cartoonist by the New York Tribune, he went to work for the Rebel Worker in 1919. He became a leading painter of the 1920s and 30s, his works being primarily concerned with social responsibilities and class inequalities. Gropper is also known for his murals, such as those in the Dept. of the Interior Building, Washington, D.C. The Senate (Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) is characteristic of his bold, satiric style.


See study by A. L. Freundlich (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gropper, William


Born Dec. 3, 1897, in New York. American graphic artist and painter.

Gropper was a student of R. Henri and G. Bellows. From the 1920’s he has been an active contributor to the communist press. Gropper’s satirical drawings and linocuts bare the class meaning of social antagonisms and the inhumanity of the bourgeois order in a sharp and idiosyncratic manner. A passionate concern for unmasking injustice, an intense dynamism, and a lapidary quality, occasionally punctuated with elements of expressionistic distortion, are also evident in his posters, illustrations, paintings, and murals. In the 1930’s, Gropper devoted many drawings and lithographs to the struggle of the working class; in a series of lithographs on themes from the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39 (in which he participated) and World War II (1939–45), Gropper depicted the true nature of fascism and created heroic images of fighters against fascism.


A Selection of Drawings From the “Worker,” 1924–1960: Album. New York [1960].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Gropper, William

(1897–1977) painter; born in New York City. He studied with Robert Henri and George Bellows (1912–13), and became a cartoonist for various periodicals. He was often compared to Honoré Daumier, for his art is satirical and expressionistic. His famous work, The Senate (1935), provides a scathing commentary on his subject.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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