September 4, 2017
Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), Free Speech, 1934-1936, oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 40 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1937.
Today is Labor Day! This United States public holiday was instituted in 1894, in response to the trade unionists of the late 19th century requesting a day to celebrate and honor laborers. It is now celebrated on the first Monday in September.
This piece by Maynard Dixon, an energetic figure seems to demand denied freedoms. He speaks to a crowd of workers and police officers during the maritime strike of 1934. Dixon is perhaps best known for his Western landscapes or paintings of Native American peoples, but this piece is an example of one of many of Dixon’s paintings that dealt with themes of the Great Depression, the migration West, people struggling to find work, and labor unions.