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Dance Marathon

20th century
152.6 cm x 101.7 cm (60 1/16 in. x 40 1/16 in.)

Philip Evergood (New York, New York, 1901 - 1973, Southbury, Connecticut) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Mari and James A. Michener, 1991
Accession Number: 1991.210

An activist as well as an artist, Philip Evergood was committed to creating art that exposed social injustice. Dance Marathon depicts a phenomenon that swept the United States during the Great Depression, in which couples competed for a cash prize by dancing for as long as possible. In this complex and luridly colored painting, Evergood combines realistic details, such as the exhausted couples and crude prize announcements, with symbols, like the skeletal hand, that convey his attitude toward the dismal spectacle. Evergood’s work of social critique, while rooted in the Depression, is a powerful reminder of the timelessness of human desperation and cruelty.

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