Sheet: 10 1/8 x 8 in. (25.7 x 20.3 cm)
Image: 9 1/8 x 7 in. (23.2 x 17.8 cm)
Gift of Reba and Dave Williams, 1999
Not on view
For the first time, in 1941, African Americans attained the right to work in defense industry jobs. Following art school, Calvin Burnett earned his living for a few years (1942-45) repairing and cleaning warships at the Boston Navy Yard where nearly 50,000 people were employed. Later, recalling his experiences there he said: "I usually worked seven days a week…[under] difficult working conditions, too hot, too heavy, too cold, outdoors in all weather and in huge and cramped broken tanks and bilges." Relying on his memory, rather than on sketches, Burnett recreated these scenes of laborers toiling on the docks and commuting to work.
Signature: Signed: (in image, lower left), CB
Inscription: Inscribed: (in pencil, lower left), Calvin Burnett; (lower center), NAVY YARD#6; (lower,right), "GRINDER"
Hamilton, N. Y. Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University. "Life Impressions: 20th-Century African American Prints from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 10–November 4, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "African-American Artists, 1929–1945: Prints, Drawings, and Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–May 4, 2003, extended to July 6, 2003.