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Pignon's father was a miner and he himself had worked down the pits as a young man in the Pas-de-Calais, France. In 1949-50 he made a series of paintings about the official suppression of strikes and demands for better working conditions. Although a Communist Party member, Pignon departed somewhat from the official Socialist Realist style. In his depiction of the man rolling a cigarette, for example, he employs a simplification that is indebted to Picasso.

August 2004