Jacob Kainen American
Publisher WPA

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Kainen probably drew inspiration for this print from the floods that ravaged the northeastern United States in 1936. In the wake of severe flooding that March, cities like Hartford and Middletown lost electricity and telephone communication, and many inhabitants had to be rescued by boat. Since these areas neighbored the artist’s native Waterbury, it is most likely that Kainen witnessed the tragedy and felt compelled to illustrate it. The image shows the violently overflowing waters of a river carrying away parts of a city’s infrastructure, including utility poles and even entire rooftops, to which people hold tight to survive the catastrophic downpour.

Flood, Jacob Kainen (American, Waterbury, Connecticut 1909–2001), Lithograph

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