Robert Riggs, Germantown and Chelten
In his noncommercial work, Robert Riggs mastered and synthesized the atmosphere and storytelling of Philadelphia’s illustration arts, applying them to the social realism of his time. Here he depicts a busy corner in Germantown with the recognizable A. Schulte cigar store. Children, men in suits, and young women cross at the bustling intersection. Whether due to the social and economic upheavals of the Great Depression, or the impending violence of the Second World War, Riggs’s later work took on a decidedly darker tone, expressing the strange relationship of individuals to the unstable world around them. The striding man on the far left is thought to be Riggs’s father, Frank O. Riggs.