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Experience the vibrant legacy of Joseph Lambert Cain, a trailblazing artist whose transcendent works
capture the essence of an era, at the
“Jo Cain: Echoes of an Era” exhibition,
an unmissable journey through time and artistry.


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Daniel Celentano (1902 – 1980)
A Marro
10 x 13 inches
Oil on board, c. 1930s
Signed lower left. Signed and titled verso.

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Michael Loew 91907 - 1985)
Details for Mural, Social Security Building, Washington DC
24 x 24 inches
Oil on canvas
Signed and Dated 2940 verso


Joseph Lambert Cain, a renowned painter, muralist, and art educator, left an indelible mark on the art world with his vibrant works that captured the spirit of his native New Orleans. Born in 1904, Cain’s artistic journey began at the tender age of sixteen when he embarked on a path that would take him far from his Louisiana roots. His educational odyssey commenced at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago and later led him to the Art Students League in New York, where he received guidance from notable instructors such as Kenneth Hayes Miller, Kimon Nicolaides, and Vaclav Vytlacil. Notably, he further honed his skills under the mentorship of Abstract Expressionist luminary Hans Hoffman.

Cain’s artistic oeuvre was characterized by his masterful use of thickly applied paint, layered color planes, and a distinctive approach to multiple perspectives. His creations, which included streetscapes, marine scenes, and landscapes, defied categorization but were often described as exemplifying “decorative expressionism” during the late 1930s.

In 1932, Cain’s artwork made a significant impact at the First Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting held at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His talent also earned him a place in the hallowed halls of other prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, and Carnegie


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Jo Cain (1904 - 2003)
Couriers of History
Bronx Central Post Office Mural Study
36 x 17 inches (sight)
Mixed media on board, c. 1930s
Signed lower right

Joseph Freedlander (1870 – 1943)
18 x 9 x 6 inches
Created 1931
Bronze on a marble base

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Cecil Bell (1906 - 1970)
Street Life Under the EL
22 x 30 inches
Oil on canvas, c. 1930s
Signed upper right,

Mervin Jules (1912 - 1994)
The Tailor
9 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches
Oil on masonite, c. 1930s
Signed lower right


Eleanor Roosevelt herself championed Joseph Cain’s talents, advocating for him to receive a major state and federal commission to create a series of murals for the New York Training School in Warwick, NY. The result was a sprawling 20,000 square foot mural that presented an epic vision of humanity’s achievements, with special sections dedicated to spirituality, history, and technology. This monumental work not only solidified Cain’s place as a key figure in the burgeoning muralist movement but also became the largest mural produced in the United States up to that point.

Cain’s artistic evolution was a testament to his commitment to pushing boundaries. Transitioning from realism in the 1920s, he developed a highly personal, cubism-based abstract style that resonated with the spirit of artists like Stuart Davis. In 1944, Cain accepted a position at the University of Rhode Island, where he went on to establish and chair the art department for over two decades. His artistic journey continued unabated until his passing in 2003.

“Jo Cain: Echoes of an Era” stands as a poignant tribute to the enduring legacy of Joseph Lambert Cain and a celebration of his art, which transcends time and remains profoundly relevant today. This exhibition, hosted by Helicline Fine Art, showcases mural studies, works on paper, and paintings dating back to the 1930s and 1940s, representing the core of Cain’s artistic offerings.

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Reginald Marsh (1898 – 1954)
Brooklyn Bridge
20 x 14 inches
Watercolor and pencil on paper
Signed and dated lower center, 1938


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Stuart Davis (1892-1964)
N.Y. Street Signs, 1938
11 1/4 x 15 1/4
Gouache on paper
Signed lower right

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The Jo Cain exhibition at Helicline Fine Art coincides with The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s concurrent exhibition, “Art for the Millions: American Culture and Politics in the 1930s.” Joseph Cain’s work seamlessly fits into the aesthetic landscape of this era, and the art world at large is thrilled to see such a prestigious institution spotlighting the significance of the WPA period.

Joseph Lambert Cain’s legacy is a testament to the enduring power of art to capture the essence of a time and place, to inspire, and to transcend the boundaries of time. His vibrant, dynamic works continue to resonate with art enthusiasts and scholars alike, ensuring that his contributions to the world of art remain a cherished part of our cultural heritage.

Walter Quirt (American, 1902-1968)
12 x 16 inches
Oil on canvas
Signed lower center

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