Art to the People - L'Art pour le Peuple
Kunst aan het Volk - Die Kunst dem Volke
To bring art to the people: that is what Walter Crane, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Albert Hahn, Frans Masereel and Gerd Arntz, the five artists in this on-line exhibition wanted to do. They created prints in large editions and illustrations in popular magazines instead of paintings. In this way they could reach a large audience, and what's more, an audience that would never visit a museum.
Art was not only supposed to reach ordinary people, it was also supposed to contribute to social change. Crane, Steinlen, Hahn, Masereel, and Arntz adapted their subjects and style to their political convictions. They depicted daily life, social problems, and the struggle for a better society. Their best work is as valid today as when it was created, from the 1880s to the 1930s. For some artists, political involvement, aiming at comprehensibility and the use of inexpensive printing techniques are stimuli rather than restraints.
On this site you can read short biographies of the five artists, see up to ten works of each of the artist's work and learn about some of the symbols they used to convey their message. All works shown are from the collection of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.
Enter the exhibition
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