1930s Socialist May Day Demonstration Poster by Rebel Arts Group, New York


Rebel Arts Group was formed in 1934 by a group of students from the Rand School for Social Science, an important institution supported by the Socialist Party, the Workmen’s Circle and various socialist-led unions. Rebel Arts emerged as the Socialist Party’s answer to the Communist's John Reed Club of New York. Led by writer and Socialist Party officer Samuel H. Friedman (1897–1990), Rebel Arts produced plays, music, and murals exploring the intersection of art and revolutionary ideology. Friedman understood the importance of the arts and culture as a means of promoting the primary objective of their political cause. Our poster was created to promote a May Day demonstration in New York City. The image depicts a shirtless worker bearing down on May 1st with a sledge Hammer. The work was created by screening colors over poster board. The poster was printed between 1936-1939 by the Union Poster Service on 4th Street in New York. In the 1960s, the company was sold, and a few of these iconic images were found. The art is an important snapshot of early 20th century, America, when the Socialist movement was at its peak, fighting against war and fascism for the working man.

Dimensions: 22 in.H x 14 in.W x .10 in.D