John B. Neagle, “Pat Lyon at the Forge,” 1829, oil on canvas, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington is currently showcasing powerful artworks that explore the creative visions of some of America’s finest artworks while also delving into our storied social and economic history.

“The Sweat of Their Face” is a powerful and apropos title for a current exhibition on view at the National Portrait Gallery. Indeed, Americans are well-known for their work ethic, much of which has been captured over the decades by our greatest artists.

John Rose, “Miss Breme Jones,” circa 1785-87, watercolor and ink on paper, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

On view through September 3, 2018, the show presents viewers with representations of American laborers across genres and centuries of art. “Artists such as Winslow Homer, Dorothea Lange, Elizabeth Catlett, and Lewis Hine depict laborers through the changing landscape of America,” the NPG writes, “from child and slave laborers to miners, railway and steel workers, to the modern gradual disappearance of the worker. Approximately 75 objects in all media (including video) highlight a point of connection between the artists and their predominately anonymous subjects.”

To learn more, visit the National Portrait Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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