Art Brokerage:(1877-1918) William Balfour Ker was born in Dunville, Ontario, Canada on July 25, 1877 of Scottish heritage.His early education and training are unknown. His mother, Lily Florence Bell, was a first cousin of Alexander Graham Bell. The Ker family immigrated to the U.S. in 1880. As a young man, Ker was an avowed Socialist, his art often reflecting his political beliefs. In the 1890's, he became a naturalized citizen and a student of the great illustrator Howard Pyle. After he married,the couple moved to Paris to paint. Ker's style was influenced by other Social Realists of the time, particularly Diego Rivera, who was in Paris at the same time. One of Ker's better known paintings was "From the Depths". It was reprinted in several books and magazines, and Life magazine sold copies of the picture for one dollar, advertising it as suitable for framing.It is thought that Ker intended this painting to inflame class divisions between productive workers and the wealthy upper class, as represented by strong but exploited workers trapped beneath the floor and well-to-do dancers at a society ball. Life sold copies of the picture for a dollar, advertising it as suitable for framing.
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