Fletcher Martin Trouble in Frisco 1938

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 510 The David Geffen Wing

This porthole view reveals a brawl between two sailors—one a striker and the other a strikebreaker. In 1934 more than thirty thousand maritime workers held a strike protesting inhumane conditions, including dangerous forty-eight-hour shifts, and abysmal pay. As one longshoreman recalled, “I became convinced . . . that five years of this and I would be dead unless something was done.” The strike closed every seaport on the West Coast for eighty-three days, eventually succeeding in its aims. Striking and unionizing became increasingly common during the Great Depression, as Americans sought relief from poverty and exploitation.

Gallery label from 2022
Oil on canvas
30 x 36" (76.2 x 91.4 cm)
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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