Garrit A. Beneker

American, 1882–1934

Man at Steelworks

c. 1920 Oil on canvas

Man at Steelworks is one in a series of industrial paintings by Beneker, commissioned by the Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company in Ohio.  The company reproduced these paintings of workers and factory scenes and distributed them to employees.  Beneker later fulfilled similar commissions for two other companies.

Beneker developed views on the dehumanizing aspects of modern industry and on the social responsibility of art.  He believed that art should convey a message for social reform, and he hoped that working people would gain a sense of their own dignity from his paintings.  He accompanied an exhibit of his industrial works on a tour around the country and presented lectures on his views about industrial democracy.

Gift of Edward L. Shein, 1981.19