Not all American artists working in the 1950s embraced abstraction. Gropper’s paintings, prints, and caricatures skewered politicians and the wealthy, who he felt exploited the poor. His work brought him to the attention of the FBI, and he was blacklisted in 1953: his name was published on the front page of the New York Times, and he was called to testify about his “un-American” political views in front of Congress. In response, he created a series of fifty lithograph prints that he titled Capriccios, a direct reference to the late-eighteenth-century Spanish artist Francisco de Goya’s most famous group of etchings. Gropper’s prints, like Goya’s, chronicle the worst of humanity, exposing the dark side of what seem like advances in technology, government, and society.
Gallery label from 2023