The Forgotten Man Painting



Wm. J. Carpenter

DeLand, Florida      1934

Watercolor      7 x 10 1/4 inches

It is likely that when the artist created this painting in 1934 he was expressing his personal feelings after a particularly depressing Christmas in 1933 and the ensuing months.  We know he pictured himself as one of the forgotten after he had lost everything he had during the big financial bust of the late 1920s.  In his waning years, while struggling to maintain his dignity and direction, he was able to capture the despair of the down and out in this painting with exceptional insight.  The homeless, many of them wounded veterans of WWI, followed the sun south to Florida in the fall and back north in the spring.   The scene is typical of those along US Highway 17 through central Florida during the Great Depression years of the 1930s and is a very poignant representation of these people and the emotions they were experiencing during that time. 

This is one of the few paintings by Mr. Carpenter in the collection in which any personal emotion is shown.  The depression expressed in this painting is so strong that we are drawn into it, where we feel the dejection and hopelessness of the subject. The colors are subdued and emphasize the intensity of the emotion. The majority of his other paintings appear as illustrations of his buildings, or floras and scenics which are accurate depictions of the scenes, but more of the landscape type.

The use of  “The UnForgotten Man” as an umbrella title for my documentation of Mr. Carpenter’s life and works came to me after realizing the significance of this painting.  The play on the title and theme of this painting seemed most apropos for the story of his life as I documented it.  Let us hope that he does indeed become 

The UN Forgotten Man.


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