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Maurice Kish came to the United States from Russia as a young man and worked as a decorative painter in a glass factory before establishing himself as an easel painter. Like many artists at work in the 1930s, he was a labor activist whose subject matter revealed his sympathy for industrial workers. At the time he painted this canvas, Kish was a resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and often focused his attention on the massive and filthy coal plants and factories that lined the East River. In this painting and others by the artist, faceless laborers are dwarfed by the industrial sites and all is described in the dull, dark tones indicative of the harsh monotony of their lives.

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