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Anacostia Artistes: 1939

Anacostia Artistes: 1939

Washington, 1939. "Anacostia High School. Art class." A veritable rainbow of grays. National Photo Company Collection safety film negative. View full size.


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Zoot Suit

Regarding the student on the right with the extra wide pant legs, I had ateacher in high school who wore those and he had to take at least three steps before the pants moved.

High School Cadet Corps

Participation in the High School Cadet Corps was still a one year requirement for boys when I attended Coolidge High in the early sixties. The uniform was much the same as shown here. Many of us elected to remain in the Cadets throughout our high school career. Everyone was assigned an M1 rifle from the school armory. There was a school rifle and shooting team. Our instructor was a captain from the D.C. National Guard. Various military science topics were taught.

Hammer time!

Does the young man to the far right realize he's probably going to get sued by MC Hammer for wearing his pants? I suppose he might have a defense because these pants aren't metallic fabric; maybe it's artistic license!

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Art Trends in 1939

The large paintings on the wall appear to be pastel works. The style is veering dangerously close to what Hitler would come to call "degenerate art "- it's sort of a transition between the swirling organic shapes of Art Nouveau and the geometry and flattened colors of Art Deco. Very decorative, perhaps the students were creating a mural for the halls.

I wonder if the fellow in the back is displaying a caricature of one of the teachers?

And man oh man, I'd sure like to have one of those cast-iron drawing easels.

Beauty and Talent and War

Stunning beauty, great talent, and the personalities on the surface appear to be thoroughly pleasant. Looks to me like the gentlemen must have looked forward to Art Class, very much. That would definitely have been the highlight of my day. Every day.

Then came war, which impacted them all, especially the two uniformed students. Wonder how they made out?

[They're in the High School Cadet Corps. - Dave]

Talent Show

I am impressed by the quality of the artwork. Today they would be viewed as extremely talented. The quality of work I see coming from young people now is really lacking in patience and skill.

Self-portrait girl

The smiling young lady looks very much like my late girlfriend. She had similar face and smile. Very lovely picture. Thank you for this absolutely wonderful site.

Love the clothes

It must have been great to grow up at a time when girls dressed like that. They all look like old time movie stars to me.

Study in Contrasts

The young lady in the Anacostia sweater is looking at us like we're something she found on her shoe. The one on the right, with the serviceable self-portrait, has a positively beguiling smile.

Back when there was style

Look at everyone's clothes. The student on the right is even wearing a tie and he's not in a uniform! Now, the kids just wear baggy clothes and a t-shirt.

But is that student in the back wearing "The Scarlet Letter"?

Pretty Girl

While all the girls are attractive, the one behind the standing cadet is absolutely beautiful. Also, the young lady who made the self portrait was quite talented.

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