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California New Deal Art

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.

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Alhambra Gordon K. Grant “El Indio,” “El Gringo,” and “El Paysano” 1938 tempera
(painted over)
Bell Stuart Holmes “Eagle” 1937 sculpture
(funded by TRAP)
- now in private collection
Berkeley Suzanne Scheuer “Incidents in California History” 1937 mural
(funded by TRAP)
Berkeley David Slivka “Pony Express – Early California” 1937 limestone relief
(funded by TRAP)
Beverly Hills Charles Kassler “Post Rider” and “Air Mail”
(two end lunettes funded by Section) and “Construction – PWA” (six lunettes funded by TRAP)
1936 fresco
Burbank Barse Miller “People of Burbank” 1940 fresco
(two panels)
Burlingame James L. Hansen “The Letter” 1941 cast stone
Calexico George Samerjan “Lettuce Workers” 1942 tempera
Canoga Park Maynard Dixon “Palomino Ponies – 1840″ 1942 oil on canvas
Claremont Stuart Holmes “Eagle” 1936 sculpture
(funded by TRAP) – missing
Claremont Milford Zornes “California Landscape” 1937 oil on canvas
(funded by TRAP)
Colton Sherry Peticolas and Gordon Newell “Eagle” 1936 (funded by TRAP)
Compton James Redmond “Early California” 1936 mural
(funded by TRAP) – around four walls
Covina Atanas Katchamakoff “Covina Desert Orange Groves” 1941 Spanish cedar relief
Culver City George Samerjan “Studio Lot” 1942 tempera
Eureka,
Post Office & Courthouse
Thomas Laman “Mining and Forestry”
(behind judge’s bench) and
“Water and Land” (on wall)
1936 egg tempera on canvas
(funded by TRAP)
Fresno,
Post Office & Courthouse
(now City Hall)
Helen Bruton “RFD – I” and “RFD – II” 1940 terra-cotta reliefs
Fresno,
Post Office & Courthouse
(now City Hall)
William H. Calfee American eagles 1940 cast concrete
Fresno,
Post Office & Courthouse
(now City Hall)
Archibald Garner “Justice” 1940 cast concrete relief
Fresno,
Post Office & Courthouse
(now City Hall)
Henry Varnum Poor “Grape Picking” 1942 painted, glazed ceramic tile
Fullerton Paul Julian “Orange Pickers” 1942 oil on canvas
Gardena Rudolph Parducci “Rural Life” 1941 carved mahogany relief
Hayward Tom E. Lewis “Rural Landscape” 1938 oil on canvas
Hollister
(now Federal Office Building)
Vladimir Nemkoff (Joseph Stone and Avis Zeigler, Assistants) “History of San Juan (Bautista) Mission” 1936 wood
(funded by TRAP)
Hollywood Gordon Newell and Sherry Peticolas “Horseman” 1937 wood
(funded by TRAP)
Huntington Park Norman Chamberlain “History of California” 1937 oil on canvas
(funded by Section and TRAP) – seven panels
Inglewood Archibald Garner “Centinella Springs” 1937 mahogany relief
Inglewood Gordon Newell and Sherry Peticolas “Buffalo and Bear” and “Ram and Lion” 1937 plaster facade
(funded by TRAP)
La Jolla Belle Baranceanu “California Landscape” 1936 oil on canvas
(funded by TRAP)
Lancaster Jose Moya del Pino “Hauling Water Pipe through Antelope Valley” 1941 oil on canvas
Livermore Robert B. Howard “The Ranch Post Box” 1941 oak relief
Los Angeles,
Post Office & Courthouse
Edward Biberman “Los Angeles – Prehistoric and Spanish Colonial” and “Creative Man” 1939 and 1941 oil on canvas (in storage)
Los Angeles,
Post Office & Courthouse
Archibald Garner “Law” 1941 limestone
(in storage)
Los Angeles,
Post Office & Courthouse
James L. Hansen “Young Lincoln” 1941 limestone
(now in Recorder of Deeds)
Los Angeles,
Post Office & Courthouse
Lucien Labaudt Spanish and American Ranches” and “Aerodynamics” 1938 and 1941 restored in 1993
Los Angeles,
Post Office & Courthouse
Henry Lion “Eagles” (two) 1938 cast stone, facade
Los Angeles, Terminal Annex Boris Deutsch “Cultural Constributions of North, South and Central America” 1944 tempera (ten lunettes)
Los Banos Lew E. Davis “Early Spanish Caballeros” 1940 tempera (now City History Museum)
Manteca Conrad Buff “Rural Life” 1940 mural
(missing)
Martinez Maynard Dixon and Edith Hamlin “The Road to Eldorado” 1939 tempera
Maywood George Samerjan “Industry,” “Home,” and “Recreation” 1941 mural
(destroyed)
Merced Helen Forbes “Early Settlers” 1937 tempera
Merced Dorothy Puccinelli “Vacheros” 1937 temerpa
Modesto Ray Boynton “Agriculture,” ”Mining,” and “Irrigation” 1936 tempera (funded by Section and TRAP) – 13 lunettes – 6 lunettes missing
Monrovia
*see note below for it’s location
Helen Forbes “Grizzly Bear and Cubs” 1940 mural
Montebello Clay Spohn “Fiesta Procession in Old California” 1938 tempera (destroyed)
Monterey Henrietta Shore “Monterey Bay” 1937 mural
(postmaster’s office)
Oceanside Elise Seeds “Air Mail” 1937 oil on canvas
Oceanside Stuart Holmes “Eagle” 1936 carved grille (funded by Section and TRAP)
Ontario Nellie G. Best “The Dream” and
“The Reality”
1942 oil on canvas
Oxnard Daniel M. Mendelowitz “Oxnard Panorama” 1941 oil on canvas
Pacific Grove Victor Arnautoff “Lovers’ Point” 1940 oil on canvas
Placerville(now the County District Attorney’s office) Tom E. Lewis “Forest Genetics” 1941 oil on canvas
Redondo Beach Paul Sample “Excursion Train and Picnickers in the Nineties,” “Sheep Farming and Ocean Near Redondo,” and “Fishing from Redondo Dock” 1937 oil on canvas
(funded by Section and TRAP)
Redwood City Jose Moya del Pino “Flower Farming and Vegetable Raising” 1937 oil on canvas
Reedley Boris Deutsch “Grape Pickers” 1941 oil on canvas
Richmond Victor Arnautoff “Richmond – Industrial City” 1941 oil on canvas (missing)
Roseville Zygmund Sazevich “The Letter” 1937 wood relief (funded by TRAP)
Saint Helena Lew Keller “Grape Pickers” 1942 oil on canvas
Salinas Richard O’Hanlon “Cowboy,” “Cattleman,” and “Cowboy and Horse” 1937 walnut reliefs (funded by TRAP)
San Diego,
Post Office and Courthouse
Archibald Garner “Transportation of the Mail” 1937 terra-cotta reliefs (nine)
San Fernando Gordon Newell and Sherry Peticolas “Transportation of the Mail” 1936 wood reliefs (seven)
San Francisco, U.S. Mint Albert Stewart “Minting Process” 1937 bronze reliefs (four)
San Francisco, Rincon Annex Anton Refregier “History of San Francisco” 1947 – 48 casein on wall (twenty-nine panels)
San Gabriel Ray Strong “San Gabriel County” 1938 oil on canvas
San Mateo Thomas Laman “Scenes of Early California” 1937 tempera
(funded by TRAP – three panels – painted over
San Mateo Zygmund Sazevich “Indian Maidens” 1937 metal
(funded by TRAP)
San Pedro Fletcher Martin “Mail Transportation” 1938 oil on canvas
San Rafael Oscar Galgiani “San Rafael Creek – 1851″ 1937 oil on canvas
Santa Barbara William Atkinson “Transportation of the Mail” 1937 plaster, six sunken reliefs
Santa Clara Michael von Meyer “Early Pioneers” 1937 wood (funded by TRAP)
Santa Cruz Henrietta Shore “Cabbage Farming,” “Limestone Quarries,” “Artichoke,” and “Fishing” 1937 oil on canvas (funded by TRAP)
Sebastopol Mallette Dean “Agriculture” 1937 mural
(funded by TRAP)
Selma Norman Chamberlain “Land of Irrigation” 1938 oil on canvas
South Pasadena John Law Walker “The Stage Coach” 1937 oil on canvas
South San Francisco Victor Arnautoff “South San Francisco in Past and Present” 1941 oil on canvas – three panels
Stockton,
Federal Building
Frank Bergman “Modern Transportation of the Mails” 1936 oil on canvas
Stockton,
Federal Building
Jose Moya del Pino “Mail and Travel by Stage Coach” 1936 oil on canvas
Susanville Helen Forbes “Deer” 1939 oil on canvas
Tracy(now in the Tracy Historical Society – old Post Office Building) Edith Hamlin “Spaniards,”
“Days of First RR,”
and “Overland Pioneers,”(the missing mural)
1938 oil on canvas (2 recovered; 1 mural missing)
Turlock
(building demolished)
James A. Holden “Arrival of the Stage” 1938 mural
(mural sold to Don Harrison, mgr of Wells Fargo Bank, Davis, CA
Ukiah Benjamin Cunningham “Resources of the Soil” 1939 mural
Vacaville (location see below)* Emrich Nicholson “Fruit Season, Vacaville” 1939 oil on canvas
Venice Edward Biberman “The Story of Venice” 1941 oil on canvas
Ventura Gordon K. Grant “Agriculture and Industries of Ventura” 1938 oil on canvas
(funded by TRAP)
Whittier Thomas Laman “Boy with Sheep” 1938 tempera
(funded by Section and TRAP) – painted over
Woodland George Harris “Farm Life” 1937 tempera
(funded by TRAP) – two panels
Woodland Katherine Works “The Trek of Father Crespi – 1777″ 1938 mural
(destroyed)
Yuba City Lulu H. Braghetta “The Wealth of Sutter County” 1942 wood relief

All mural images depicted on this site are used with permission of the United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.

*Monrovia, CA Post Office – The Monrovia CA mural has not been destroyed as reported in Democratic Vistas. This mural is actually rolled up in the basement of the Post Office. The city is trying to get grant money to have it restored and placed in the city library (information courtesy of Jimmy Emerson)

*Vacaville, CA Post Office – the building is currently being used as The Old Post Office Seafood and Grill, 301 Main Street, Vacaville, CA 95688 (phone: 707-447-1858)

California New Deal Art Listing (not comprehensive) April 2, 1937 – pdf file (65.5 kb)

The Golden Gate Exposition of 1939 – held on Treasure Island, San Francisco

 


 

New Deal/WPA Art in California Cities:

Belvedere – oil on canvas decorative panel (masonite) – 3 x 12 feet by Selden G. Gile for the Belvedere Public Library (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

Benicia

Berkeley

Bernal Heights - 500 Cortland, S.F. (415) 695-5160 -
“The mural-wrapped Bernal Heights branch of the San Francisco Public Library, a 1939 WPA project, still retains its original painted details and gorgeous light fixtures.”

Burbank, CA – there is an 11 x 22 foot mural by Hugo Ballin in the Burbank City Hall building located on Olive Avenue. It is located behind the City Council dais and depicts the “four freedoms” of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 speech (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear).

Burlingame - there are three WPA murals done by Frederick Pawla in the Burlingame High School – Check out David Newman’s page.

Carmel – oil on canvas mural by Armin Hansen, Sunset Grammar School (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

College of Marin – Maurice Del Mue mural originally installed in the Science Building. (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

Fullerton - there is a WPA mural installed in the Fullerton High School.

Inglewood - Helen Lundeberg’s mural series “The History of Transportation” is currently being restored (photos of the restoration)

Long Beach - a magnificent mosaic created in 1938 for the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium – now in danger of being lost to the public: article by Ana Maria McGuan, Long Beach Heritage, October 2005 newsletter pdf (88.6 kb).

Los Gatos – in 1939, Clay Spohn completed a mural under the sponsorship of the WPA for Los Gatos Union High School.

Los Angeles

Mill Valley -Maurice Del Mue mural - Initially installed in the Tamalpais High School, the 8 x 38 foot mural by Del Mue was removed from the wall of the high school library in the 1960s and rolled up face-in, causing extensive damage and compression cracks. It is entitled “The Golden Hills of Marin.” It is currently being restored and will be re-installed in Wood Hall in Tam High School. Another WPA mural by Maurice Del Mue for Tam H.S. entitled “The Redwoods” was also removed in the 1960s but has been lost. In addition to the Del Mue murals, there was a pair of mosaic panels (“Comedy” and “Tragedy”) funded by the WPA and created for Mead Theater. They are also in the process of being restored. For information about the Tam High School mural restoration. (ref:

Modesto - The Modesto Post Office is being closed – it houses a series of Ray Boynton murals, now in danger!

Newport Beach - both the Newport Beach Elementary School and the High School have WPA art.

Oakland - two panels of inlaid, colored marble with backing of gold and silver leaf for lobby of the new Alameda County Court House, Oakland, design by Mrs. Marian Simpson. (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

Pacific Grove – a series of three panels by August Gay and Bruce Ariss for Pacific Grove High School; mural by Burton S. Boundey – main entrance, Pacific Grove High School (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

Sacramento – there is a series of murals painted under WPA/FAP funding by Lucile Lloyd. The three murals were dedicated on October 16, 1937 at the first Los Angeles State Building at 217 West First Street, hung in an Assembly room. The middle was 16′x13′ and side panels were 6.5′x13′. They were moved after the original site was damaged in the 1971 LA Earthquake. The murals are titled “California’s Name” and now reside in the Senate Committee Room, Sacramento.

Salinas – there is a large granite panther created by Raymond Puccinelli under the WPA for the Salinas Junior College

San Francisco

San Germonimo - The 1934 Maurice Del Mue WPA mural is on display at the San Geronimo Valley Cultural Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd in San Germonimo and in the process of being restored thanks to the Trillium Fund.

San Jose - oil on canvas panel by John Garth, Hoover Jr. High School; two oil on canvas panels by John Garth, Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School (source: “Mural Decorations – Completed and in Progress” April 1, 1937)

San Pedro – There are several examples of New Deal art in San Pedro, CA. In the Richard Henry Dana Middle School located at 1501 Cabrillo Ave. (at 15th St.) there are two murals in the school cafeteria which were created by WPA artist Adrien Machefert in 1934 entitled “Life and Travels of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.” They are oil on canvas; both measure 8′ x 42′. Machefert was assisted by Joseph Sena and James Haggart. In the San Pedro High School, at 15th and Alma streets there is a series of murals by Tom Tyrone Comfort entitled “Industrial Life in San Pedro” dated 1937. The murals are oil on canvas, 9 panels, 4′ x 8′ (4 panels) and 10′ x 8′ (5 panels).

Santa Cruz

Santa Monica – articles (LA TimesChicago Tribune) about the restoration of Stanton MacDonald-Wright’s murals for the Santa Monica Public Library

Sonora – High School library murals – you can access the AAA oral history transcript of George Post, the artist, talking about his work for the Sonora H.S. library murals.

Torrance – The WPA-Federal Art Project mural by A. Katherine Skeele (Dann)entitled “Home Life in Old Taos” in the auditorium of Torrance High School was recently cleaned and restored. It was painted in 1936-37 and depicts Pueblo Indian men and women working on daily tasks, such as grinding corn and collecting water from a river near their adobe dwellings in Taos

US Fleeting Training Base, CA – “Landscape” by George Chan, oil on canvas (received 5-25-1942) 30″x16″ (funded under the So. Cal. WPA Art Project).

 


 

California Digitization Project:
“The On-line Archive of California brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections are available.”