The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established in 1935 as a government program designed to employ millions of job-seekers for public works projects with a goal of alleviating the economic effects of the Great Depression. Fruit Store was designed in 1941 as one of more than 30,000 poster designs created by artists working under the Federal Art Project (FAP)—a subset of the WPA—to promote community activities, positive social values and proactive approaches to health. Food and healthy eating became popular subjects for WPA artists and writers as scientists first began to explore the chemical make-up and effects of certain foods in the 1920s and 1930s.
Fruit Store is a silkscreen print that was produced in the New York City division of the FAP, which provided jobs for over 2,000 unemployed artists at its peak. In the late 1930s, artist Anthony Velonis became head of the FAP’s graphic arts and introduced the studio to silk-screening—prior to his arrival, each poster was painted individually by hand. Silk-screening was inexpensive and allowed printing and designing to be done in the same space, enabling artists to oversee their work from start to finish.
Pears, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, plums, lemons … Fruit Store’s vibrant wares are immediately eye-catching. The quirky vantage point and close crop fills the frame with diagonals, and the pattern on the store awning doubles down on that directional theme. Similarly, every piece of fruit, stem, and leaf is posed in its bin at a precise, repetitive angle. These choices add a sense of movement, ripe delights lined up like synchronized swimmers in super-saturated, gleaming suits. The typography on that overhanging, scalloped edge is bold enough to announce itself, but flat enough to take a backseat to the visual appeal of the carefully arranged edibles. The hyper-stylized rows, color-block shadowing, cut-out effect, and crisp highlights are graphic, engaging, and fabulously fun. How do you get everyday people excited about healthy eating? Make fruit shopping look this modern, mesmerizing, and, quite frankly, cool ... Read more on the blog!
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
Museo Portfolio Rag
10"x8" | edition of 10
14"x11" | edition of 150
20"x16" | edition of 50
24"x20" | edition of 10
40"x30" | edition of 5