New Deal WPA Art in Alabama
Post Office New Deal Artwork
Most of the Post Office works of art were funded through commissions under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later known as The Section of Fine Arts) and not the WPA.
“Often mistaken for WPA art, post office murals were actually executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts. Commonly known as “the Section,” it was established in 1934 and administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department. Headed by Edward Bruce, a former lawyer, businessman, and artist, the Section’s main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By providing decoration in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.” from “Articles from EnRoute : Off The Wall: New Deal Post Office Murals” by Patricia Raynor
Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.
|Alexander City||Franc Epping||“Cotton,” “Tobacco,” and “Wheat”||1941||terra-cotta reliefs|
|Atmore||Anne Goldthwaite||“The Letter Box”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Bay Minette||Hilton Leech||“Removal of the County Seat from Daphne to Bay Minette”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Brewton||John Von Wicht||“Logging”||1939||missing|
Post Office and Agricultural Building
|Stuart R. Purser||“Farm Scene with Senator Bankhead”||1943||mural|
(now in the
|Paul Arlt||“Saturday in Enterprise”||1941||tempera|
|Eutaw||Robert Gwathmey||“The Countryside”||1941||oil on canvas|
|Fairfield||Frank Anderson||“Spirit of Steel”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Fort Payne||Harwood Steiger||“Harvest at Fort Payne”||1938||oil on canvas (two panels)|
|Guntersville||Charles Russell Hardman||“Indians Receiving Gifts from Spanish”||1947||oil on canvas|
|Hartselle||Lee R. Warthen||“Cotton Scene”||1941||mural|
Post Office and Courthouse
|Xavier Gonzalez||“Tennessee Valley Authority”||1937||mural (several panels)|
|Luverne||Arthur Getz||“Cotton Field”||1942||mural|
Post Office and Agricultural Building
|Arthur Leroy Bairnsfather||“Harvesting”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Montevallo||William S. McCall||“Early Settlers Weighing Cotton”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Oneonta||Aldis B. Browne||“Local Agriculture – A.A.A. 1939″||1939||oil on canvas|
|Opp||Hans Mangelsdorf||“Opp”||1940||wood relief|
|Ozark||J. Kelly Fitzpatrick||“Early Industry of Dale County”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Phenix City||J. Kelly Fitzpatrick||“Cotton”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Russellville||Conrad A. Albrizzio||“Shipment of First Iron Produced in Russellville”||1938||fresco|
|Scottsboro||Constance Ortmayer||“Alabama Agriculture”||1940||plaster bas-relief|
|Tuscumbia||Jack McMillen||“Chief Tuscumbia Greets the Dickson Family”||1939||mural|
|Tuskegee||Anne Goldthwaite||“The Road to Tuskegee”||1937||oil on canvas|
All mural images depicted on this site are used with permission
of the United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Democratic Vistas: Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal
by Marlene Park & Gerald E. Markowitz
*information sent by Jimmy Emerson.
Birmingham - the Eastlake Public Library, Birmingham, was painted in 1937 as a Public Works Art Project mural. The artist was Birmingham native Carrie Hill. It depicts several children storybook characters. The mural measures 27 ft by 9 ft. It was damaged in the 1970′s by fire and water. It was restored in 1993 by John Bertalam. The artist, Carrie Hill, used her own likeness for the face of Mother Goose.
Also in the Birmingham area – Woodlawn High School auditorium – The auditorium stage is decorated with the mural, designed and painted by Birmingham artists Sidney Van Sheck and Richard Blauvelt Coe for the Federal Works Progress Administration. Work on the Woodlawn mural lasted from 1937 to 1939. At 200 feet long and 6 feet high, the painting is one of the largest done by the WPA. Funds are needed to restore this mural. Donations may be sent to The Metropolitan Arts Center/Woodlawn Mural Project, 1116 26th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35205-2414. Checks should be made out to the center and noted for the Woodlawn Mural Project. Donations are tax deductible. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org information from the article “Donors step in to help restore mural,” March 25, 2007 by Victoria L. Coman, The Birmingham News.
Jasper – the Central Elementary School Auditorium, Jasper had a WPA mural painted by Carrie Hill around 1940-41. It depicted the “Pied Piper” but unfortunately, when the building was torn down many years ago, the mural was destroyed. Carrie Hill also painted the mural in the East Lake Library, Birmingham. information courtesy of Jimmy Emerson
Mobile - John Augustus Walker Murals (1936) – now located in the The Museum of Mobile on South Royal Street - Hurricane Katrina update: This museum had severe flooding during Katrina but reopened on March 1. http://www.archives.state.al.us/mobile/mobile1.html
(information contributed by Terri Kenny).
More info about the Alabama murals can be found at: www.alabamamoments.state.al.us/sec49det.html