Three Able Seamen

Schardt - Three Able Seamen.JPG

Dublin Core



This print’s obviously ironic title asks us to notice what flows into the void of unemployment—all the moments of time the remain to be filled. Three men stare into the near distance, fiddle with their fingers, or even empty a pebble from a shoe. This last gesture my reference a maritime tradition of throwing old boots into the wake of a departing ship so as to ensure safe passage back home. But in this stark monochrone linoprint, it’s not clear where home is for these men.

About the Artist: Born in Milwaukee, WI, Schardt studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League in New York. His works were exhibited at the Federal Gallery and the Municipal Art Gallery. Beginning in the 1935 Schardt began working for the Federal Art Project in a variety of roles: printmaker, allocations administrator, facilitator in the Poster Division; he oversaw the WPA demonstration exhibits at the 1939 World’s Fair. During this period Schart and his wife, the WPA artist Nene Vibber, shared a flat with Jackson Pollock. Schardt’s background in printmaking and administrative capacities often extended beyond the galleries. In the late 1930s and early ‘40s he worked for the National Youth Administration (NYA) at its Art Production Unit, where students learned about commercial art while creating posters for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and military recruiters (“NYA Youth”). After World War II, his friend Jackson Pollock mentions Schardt working at “silkscreen printing (cosmetics) on a big skale [sic]” (Savig 192). He also continued to mentor young artists via lesson at the Brooklyn Musuem. 4 works at Smithsonian American Art Museum. 3 works at National Gallery of Art. 1 work at Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2 works at the Brooklyn Museum. 3 more images at FAP.

Sources Consulted: University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Federal Art Project : American Prints from the 1930s in the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art (University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1985); “NYA Youths Design Air Corps Posters,” Brooklyn Eagle 24 Aug. 1941: 6A; Mary Savig, ed., Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016).


Schardt, Bernard P., 1904-1979








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