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Philadelphia’s WPA print workshop: Raymond Steth

September 4th, 2013

Raymond Steth, born 1917, Norfolk, Virginia; died 1997, Philadelphia, began working in the graphics division of the WPA/FAP in Philadelphia in 1938. Here he worked with Dox Thrash, inventor of the Carborundum mezzotint. In addition to Thrash’s new technique, Steth produced a fine group of lithographs with Social Realist themes that document his intimate knowledge of city life as well as the rural South. Wrapping Tobacco is a rare example of Steth exploring Depression-era life in Virginia’s Tobacco fields. Steth infuses his prints with a profound emotional that places them amongst the very best works produced for the WPA.
Steth later studied at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia College of Art, where he later taught. He co-founded and directed the Philographic School of Art from 1948-1953. His remarkable prints are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

Wrapping Tobacco, lithograph, c. 1940

Wrapping Tobacco, lithograph, c. 1940

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