The Church is the Union Hall
American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969
Ben Shahn, a leading Social Realist, received a commission from Fortune magazine in 1946 to illustrate an article on the turbulent social movement to unionize workers in the South. As was his practice, Shahn synthesized many visual sources for the project, from his 1930s photographs to contemporary sketches from his on-site research. This painting resonates with some of the artist’s lifelong concerns, such as class, race, and religion, and was the only image Fortune included as a full-page color reproduction.