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Shaker Refectory Table with Benches

Alfred H. Smith American

Not on view

The Index of American Design was established by the Federal Art Project to employ illustrators—often skilled watercolorists—to create a collection of drawings representing a wide range of Americana from which artists and designers could draw inspiration. It also served to teach the public about American craft history. The more than eighteen thousand drawings created for the Index reflected the country’s “melting pot” character, representing objects from the craft traditions of a wide range of ethnic and religious groups from the colonial period to around 1900. This drawing and other examples seen in the exhibition, 'Art for the Millions: American Culture and Politics in the 1930s' depict textiles and wood carvings by Indigenous and Hispano artists from the Southwest, embroidery by women from coastal New England, furniture crafted by Shakers from the Northeast and Midwest, and face jugs by enslaved potters from the South.

Shaker Refectory Table with Benches, Alfred H. Smith (American, active ca. 1935), Watercolor and graphite on paperboard

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