Business is Picking Up


Business is Picking Up

New Masses, June 1933

William Gropper

This illustration by William Gropper portrays a businessman as a grotesque inflated monster with eight octopus-like arms destroying a city below. As he floats by, he snatches up houses, boats, buildings, trains, and even people. This monster, much like the businessmen of the early 1930s, wants nothing more than to take what he believes is rightfully his. Coming apart at the seams, this inflatable monster is something that will never outlast the fast pace of city life, something that could blow away in the wind. Gropper’s characterization of a shoddy monster taking over the city criticizes the dominance of a faulty capitalist system. The instability of America in the 1930s is successfully showcased here: one may not notice the monster’s flaws at first, but once they are revealed, society’s vulnerability is clear.  


Cathryn Kelley

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