Exhibit Featuring Works from Depression Era Opens at Hillstrom Museum of ArtThe new exhibit includes nearly 100 photographs and paintings from the Shogren-Meyer Collection.
Posted on September 5th, 2019 by

Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985), Dust Storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936, gelatin silver print, 8 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches, Shogren-Meyer Collection.

This fall marks the 90th anniversary of “Black Tuesday”, the stock market crash which sent the world reeling and lead into the Great Depression and Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. The newest exhibit at the Hillstrom Museum of Art honors that turbulent time in American history bringing nearly 100 works of art to Gustavus Adolphus College from definitive photographers such as Dorthea Lange and Gordon Parks as well as painters including John Steuart Curry and Robert Gilbert.

The exhibit entitled Industry, Work, Society, and Travails in the Depression Era: American Paintings and Photographs from the Shogren-Meyer Collection, opens with a reception from 7–9 p.m. on September 9. Collector Daniel Shogren will give gallery talks at 7:30 p.m. on September 9 and also at 3:30 p.m. on September 15.

Shogren and his wife Susan Meyer have long been interested in the 1930’s and the art created during that era. Both history majors in college, they note the importance of several government programs that allowed photography and art to act as a recorder of the times including the Works Progress Administration, Farm Security Administration, and the Federal Art Project. “The subject of this period’s art was what was going on with the people of America,” Shogren says.  “There were great changes taking place, and many of the photographs and paintings in our collection reflect those changes.”

One area of focus in the exhibit is the Dust Bowl, which is intentional because of this year’s Nobel Conference 55, “Climate Changed: Facing Our Future.” Shogren sees parallels between the challenging climate and economic issues today and those of the 1920’s and 30’s. He hopes others do as well. “Are we seeing warning signals, such as climate change and income disparity, that portend a future depression and a new Dust Bowl?” he asks. “If so, are we prepared, and have we learned anything from our history of the 1930’s?”. As part of the Nobel Conference there will be a special reception from 6–8 p.m. on September 24. 

The Hillstrom Museum of Art is located in the Jackson Campus Center of Gustavus Adolphus The College, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, Minnesota.  The Museum’s regular hours are weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends, 1 to 5 p.m. The exhibit is open through November 10.



  1. Susan Teller says:

    Is there a list of works or even a list of artists for this exhibition? Sounds terrific.