Depression Bread Line by George Segal

Depression Bread Line
1991
Pop Art
Plaster, wood, metal, and acrylic paint
Collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, USA

An overarching theme of Segal’s work, waiting is presented with poignancy in Depression Bread Line. Life-sized hunched over men in old hats and overcoats stand in a single line queue beside a brick wall. Brad lines were a familiar sight during the Great Depression. Depression Bread Line is a memorial to honour President FD Roosevelt whose economic policies helped lift the middle class out of poverty. Segal lived through this era, and remembered listening to Roosevelt’s ‘Fireside Chats’ on the radio. The sculpture was installed in 1997 in Washington DC. Segal’s choice of an unassuming moment of every day life symbolises the personal intimacy with which he portrayed historic moments. The cast of each figure is from himself and four friends.

George Segal
Pop Art
Born: 26 November 1924, New York, USA
Nationality: American
Died: 9 June 2000, New Jersey, USA

Segal used orthopaedic bandages dipped in plaster to create some the most haunting and memorable figurative art of the 20th century. Life-sized models are seated at lunch counters, waiting in train stations, or poised on the street. The figures inhabit three-dimensional environments evoking every day spaces. The figures appear lost in their own universes. Segal was the most existential of the Pop artists, giving the viewer the time to step out of the fast-paced world

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