Ben Shahn’s Sunday Paintings: Transformation of a Social Realist

James Walter Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Ben Shahn’s exhibition of Sunday Paintings (1940) evidenced the metamorphosis of one of America’s foremost social realists. A variety of personal and professional factors compelled Shahn to reevaluate his artistic direction. This essay helps explain the artist’s metamorphosis by exploring 1) a shift in American art criticism in favor of modernism, and 2) Shahn’s involvement with the Resettlement/Farm Security Administration and his development of a photographic aesthetic. The aim is to elucidate primary reasons for the stylistic shift of a major twentieth-century American painter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of History and Philosophical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ben Shahn
  • New Deal
  • Photography
  • Social Realism
  • Sunday Paintings


Dive into the research topics of 'Ben Shahn’s Sunday Paintings: Transformation of a Social Realist'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this