Jack Delano  (1914 - 1997)

Visual chronicler of Puerto Rico:

a profoundly moral vision

 

Click here to view a virtual portfolio of Jack and Irene Delano's
Christmas card designs on loan to the Luis Muñoz Mar
ín Foundation

 

Jack Delano's life as a socially committed artist began in the late 1930s and continues just as powerfully today, despite the artist’s death in August 1997. In 1940, shortly after completing art school, Delano was hired by the New Deal's Farm Security Administration to travel the Atlantic seaboard photographing the Depression’s devastating effects, as well as the impact of wartime mobilization.

In 1941, Delano made one working trip to Puerto Rico, an experience that impressed him deeply. The poverty, he later recalled, was far worse than in other regions he had visited, but he was struck by "the dignity, indomitable spirit, and unquenchable sense of humor of the people in the face of the most appalling adversity." After three months of intensive photography, he was reluctant to leave. Following wartime service as a military photographer, he returned to Puerto Rico and made the island his home, becoming a constant participant in the cultural life of Puerto Rico.

Jack Delano’s career was brilliantly multifaceted. He has been recognized as one of the great contributors to the Farm Security Administration collection of New Deal social documents. He is also known as a chronicler of change in postwar Puerto Rico, as a filmmaker, as a composer, and as an illustrator of children's books designed in collaboration with his wife, Irene. For all their diversity, Delano's works consistently manifest his passionate commitment to popular culture and communication.

 

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