The Soup Kitchen

Norman Lewis American

Not on view

From the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, before he turned to abstraction, Lewis made paintings and prints that illustrated the hardships of urban life in the North for African Americans. These works followed the imagery and ideology of the Social Realists, a group of American artists who saw art as a means for social change. Notably, however, Lewis viewed the economic and political issues that confronted all Americans in terms of their particular impact on the Black community. Adopting the narrative, representational style of Social Realism, he produced such poignant pictures as The Soup Kitchen, which draws attention to the hopelessness felt by the legions of unemployed. Anonymous and defeated, these men line up at one of the WPA-sponsored kitchens for a free bowl of soup.

The Soup Kitchen, Norman Lewis (American, New York 1909–1979 New York), Lithograph

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.