My recent search for anything having to do with the Headless Horseman lead me to the art of William Gropper(1877-1977). Below , along with several other of his illustrations , is Gropper's version of the Headless Horseman. Gropper's extreme perspective's, exaggerated figures, dynamic compositions, and radical political statements instantly struck a chord with me. Here again I find myself wondering how I did not come across this artists work at an early time?..
Gropper worked in the US as a cartoonist, painter, lithographer, and muralist. Labeled a radical , Gropper is best known for his political work in which he contributed to left wing publications such as the Revolutionary Age, The Liberator, The New Masses, The Worker, and The Morning Freiheit. Gropper studied under Ash Can school artists Robert Henri and George Bellows , so it comes as no surprise to me that his work is a s good as it is.
During the Great Depression Gropper's work was very influential as it spoke out against social injustice and other issues faced at the time. His illustrations were so powerful that one in which was printed in Vanity Fair in 1935, and depicted Emperor Hirohito , caused a diplomatic incident. This resulted in the Japanese Government demanding an official apology from Gropper. In May 1953 Gropper's attacks on Joseph McCarthy led to him being called before the House of Un- American Activities Committee, in which after pleading the 5th, he was black listed but not imprisoned.
To me his work embodies his radical nature, not only in content but in style as well, and is something I look forward to seeing more of.