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The Church is the Union Hall

American Art

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The Church is the Union Hall

Artwork Details


Ben Shahn
American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969




Tempera on board

Accession #



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Currently Not on View


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.


Purchase with funds from Sherri and Jess Crawford, High Museum of Art Enhancement Fund, the American Art Collectors, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schwob, and Mr. and Mrs. John L. Huber

Image Copyright

© Estate of Ben Shahn