Archibald Ziegler (1903-1971):
An Allegory of Social Strife, late 1920's
Framed (ref: 4837)
Oil on panel over pencil and red crayon, 21 1/8 x 26 5/8 in. (53.5 x 67.7 cm.)
This scene can be read as a polemical Allegory of the sacrifice of the working man as a victim of the ruling classes. It depicts the artist himself on the Cross. He is flanked on the left by pugnacious workerï¿½s leaders (a reference to Socialism?) and on the right men in formal attire representing the Establishment (a reference to Capitalism?). Brow-beaten workers, under attack, fill the background. A soldier stands guard to the Establishment figures, amongst which is a macabre, frockï¿½coated figure whose pose and dog-collar alludes possibly to the Church. A study for this right hand group is inscribed by the artist with the title 'Hell'. Dating to the second half of the late 1920's - a period of mass unemployment and social unrest lasting until well into the 1930s - it recalls images of the 1926 General Strike, which Ziegler would have himself lived through as a young art student. Ziegler's striking composition is likely to have influenced the later well known self portrait as Christ (Jesus The Jew, 1942) by Emanuel Levy.
We are grateful to Michael Barker for assistance.