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Alabama New Deal Art

New Deal WPA Art in Alabama -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.

Location Artist Title Date Medium
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
Carrollton Post Office and Agricultural Building Stuart R. Purser “Farm Scene with Senator Bankhead” 1943 mural
Enterprise (now in the
Public Library)
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
Haleyville Hollis Holbrook “Reforestation” 1940 mural
(painted over)*
Hartselle Lee R. Warthen “Cotton Scene” 1941 mural
Huntsville
Post Office and Courthouse
Xavier Gonzalez “Tennessee Valley Authority” 1937 mural (several panels)
Luverne Arthur Getz “Cotton Field” 1942 mural
Monroeville 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.

 

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: vcoman@bhamnews.com 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