Oil on Masonite
Gift of Helen Benton Boley, 1978.8.7
Masonite is a type of engineered wood made of steam-cooked wood fibers pressure-molded into smooth panels. The process was patented by William H. Mason in 1924 in Laurel, Mississippi; mass production of this building material began in 1929. Though not explicitly marketed to artists, many soon found Masonite to be an improvement over wood panels for oil and tempera painting. It was available in large sheets, had no grain or knots, and would not crack or split. It was also relatively inexpensive, which appealed to artists during the Great Depression (1929 - c. 1939).
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kleinholz began studying painting in the 1930s and focused on scenes of urban life in New York. This painting was part of the Encyclopedia Britannica Collection of Contemporary American Painting, which toured the US in 1945.