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

Coal Pickers

Artist: Riva Helfond (1910 - 2002)
Date: 1939
image: 11 1/4 × 15 1/4 in. (28.6 × 38.7 cm)
sheet: 13 9/16 × 18 3/8 in. (34.4 × 46.7 cm)
Framed: 18 1/4 × 22 1/2 × 1 1/8 in.
Medium: Color lithograph
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2012.190
Inscriptions: l.l., in pencil: "Coal Pickers" - 1938 - 13/15
Signed: l.r., in pencil: Riva Helfond
Not on View
Accession Number: 2012.190
ProvenanceDaniel Lebard, Brussels, Belgium; (Catherine E. Burns, Oakland, CA); purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR, 2012
Label TextThe Fine Art Project provided new opportunities for women and minorities who faced less discrimination on the Project than in private employment. About 40 percent of the artists who qualified for employment were women. Riva Helfond both created prints for the FAP and taught printmaking at the Harlem Art Center, a racially integrated workshop.

Coal Pickers provides a rare glimpse of women working by scavenging bits of coal from the mine shaft. The image is not heroic, but rather reflects tedious labor by people determined to eke out a wage, no matter how small.