“Social Realism: A trend in 20th-century art before 1950. Often political in nature, social realism is distinctive in its realistic depictions of the ills of society. The influence of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros was felt by North American social realist and WPA artists. Some North Americans emerged from the Ashcan School, while others, like Ben Shahn, evolved separately.”
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.