Helen J. HinrichsenU.S. b. 1896-1988
Farmer's Holiday 66.1130
In the 1930s farmers faced a precarious situation. Drought in the Midwest had immobilized most farm production and the stock market crash of 1929, which plunged the country into the Great Depression, forced banks to foreclose on hundreds of farms. By the fall of 1931 farmers in Iowa resorted to force in their efforts to prevent foreclosure sales. The following year, the Iowa Farmer's Union formed a Farm Holiday Association with the intention of organizing farmers to halt all shipments of farm products and produce into Sioux City for 30 days-or until they got a fair price for their goods. Attempts at a peaceful solution dissolved in violence: farmers blocked highways with logs, spiked telegraph poles, smashed windshields, and punctured tires with pitchforks in order to persuade others to comply with their strike. A young man was shot to death by one of the picketers near Sioux City when he failed to stop driving a truck loaded with milk cans. Hinrichsen has localized the events depicted in her painting; included in the background is a road sign for Highway 75, the truck route to Sioux City. Hinrichsen is best known for her association with Stone City Art Colony and Grant Wood and for her work as a teacher at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She also painted a mural celebrating the history of Davenport at the time of its centennial (1934).
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