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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

Last Shift

Artist: Michael J. Gallagher (1898 - 1965)
Date: ca. 1937
image: 8 × 10 5/8 in. (20.3 × 27 cm)
Framed: 15 1/4 × 17 7/8 × 1 1/8 in.
Medium: Lithograph
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2012.119
Inscriptions: l.l., in pencil: Last Shift
Signed: l.r., in pencil: Michael J. Gallagher / K.M.G.
Not on View
Accession Number: 2012.119
ProvenanceDaniel Lebard, Brussels, Belgium; (Catherine E. Burns, Oakland, CA); purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR, 2012
Label TextIn Last Shift, Michael Gallagher depicts the harsh reality of employment during the Depression. One out of every four people was unemployed, and those fortunate enough to find work were often subject to difficult conditions. Gallagher felt particular sympathy for coal miners because his family worked in the coal mines near Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Gallagher provides visual clues to communicate hardship: the figure is bent over, his posture revealing exhaustion. He is framed—almost constricted—by beams and posts, alluding to the industrial pressure on the American workforce.