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Wilhelmina Godfrey (1914-1994), City Playground, 1949-50; wax emulsion and oil on board, 44 x 38 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Carol Wing, 1994

Wilhelmina Godfrey (1914-1994), City Playground, 1949-50; wax emulsion and oil on board, 44 x 38 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Carol Wing, 1994

In Wilhelmina Godfrey's prize-winning, ambiguous painting, City Playground, one can’t be certain if the two boys in the foreground are playing or fighting, or if one is coming to the rescue of his falling friend. The bleak urban landscape, with its brick wall, drying laundry, peeling poster, and absence of traditional playground equipment is painted in the style of social activist Ben Shahn to suggest a lack of carefree space for children to develop their creative imaginations.