IN THE 1930s

A Product of the American Studies Program
             at the University of Virginia



Themes for Study or Discussion

Redeeming the Skyscraper

The editors of Fortune presented an image of the American skyscraper as a monument to the country's greatness, not the symbol of business excess that the man on the street thought it was.
The Onslaught of Mass Culture

Though published in 1936, Walter Benjamin's essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" continues to influence the way we perceive the very concept of "perception." Comparing the words of Walter Benjamin with the covers of Fortune Magazine that were published in Benjamin's era offers a unique angle by which to view America in the 1930's.
The Art of Fortune Magazine

A visual essay on abstraction and the machine in early twentieth-century art, and on the appropriation of the machine aesthetic by Fortune magazine illustrations as a means of asserting cultural authority.
Harmonizing the Machine in the Garden

The covers of Fortune magazine portray a changing notion of the relationship between the machine, on the one hand, and nature, on the other, construed as the agrarian or the landscape. Over time, the covers narrate the facilitation of an increasing distance between the viewer and the land.
Gallery: Ernest Hamlin Baker (1889-1975)

Illustrator Ernest Hamlin Baker produced a number of Fortune covers, and was one of the artists who helped create the magazine's lush and striking profile.

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