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Florida WPA 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.

New Deal Art in Florida

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Arcadia Constance Ortmayer “Arcadia” 1939 sculpture
De Funiak Springs Thomas I. Laughlin “Scene of Town” 1942 oil on canvas
Fort Pierce Lucile Blanch “Osceola Holding Informal Court with His Chiefs” 1938 oil on canvas
Jasper Pietro Lazzari “Harvest at Home” and “News from Afar” 1942 tempera
Lake Wales Denman Fink “Harvest Time – Lake Wales” 1942 mural
Lake Worth Joseph D. Myers “Settler Fighting Alligator from Rowboat” 1947 oil on canvas
Madison George Snow Hill “Long Staple Cotton” 1940 oil on canvas
Miami,
Miami Beach Branch
Charles Russell Hardman “Episodes from the History of Florida” 1940 oil on canvas
Miami
Post Office and Court House
Denman Fink “Law Guides Florida Progress” 1940 oil on canvas
Miami
Post Office and Court House (located in courtroom)
Alexander Sambugnac “Love and Hope” and “Wisdom and Courage” 1938 cast stone relief
Milton George Snow Hill “Loading Pulpwood” 1941 oil on canvas
Palm Beach Charles Rosen “Landscape” and “Seminole Indians” 1938 oil on canvas
Perry George Snow Hill “Cypress Logging” 1938 oil on canvas
Sebring
(now in Public Library)
Charles R. Knight “Prehistoric Life in Florida” 1942 oil on canvas
Starke Elizabeth Terrell “Reforestation” 1942 mural
Tallahassee Edward Buk Ulreich “History of Florida” 1939 oil on canvas
(8 panels)
West Palm Beach
(moved to new Post Office, 801 Clematis St.)
Stevan Dohanos “The Legend of James Edward Hamilton, Mail Carrier” 1940 tempera

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

 


 

New Deal art was also installed in the Florida Keys. The two primary sculptors were Joan van Breeman and Lambert Bemelman. One of Bemelman’s pieces is still extant at the Hurricane Memorial at Mile Marker 81.5. Van Breeman created a number of bas relief sculptures for public schools built by the WPA in the Upper Keys (to replace public schools destroyed by hurricanes). One of van Breeman’s work now is on display in the Harvey Government Center in Key West. Other works of hers are in the Travernier and Matecumbe Schools (done August 1938), the Islamorada Library, and the Plantation Key Courthouse. (facts from The WPA Federal Art Project By Jerry Wilkinson).

 


 

For those of you who wish to pursue your Florida research, you might want to contact:

  • The Bienes Center for the Literary Arts through the Broward County Library has an extensive exhibition of WPA Florida art
  • The University of Miami, Otto G. Richter Library Archives and Special Collection Department. There is a collection of records called the “Florida WPA Records” by Diane Gonzalez Kirby. (http://www.library.miami.edu/archives/papers/fwpa.html)

 


 

You can check out the site: http://www.keysarts.org/WPA-Spotlight.htm for the Keys WPA history.

There is a biography page on Key West artists at: http://www.keysarts.org/WPA-Biographies.htm

 


 

Tampa - Tampa Airport WPA murals, “The Art of Flight,” by George Snow Hill and October 13, 2002 St. Petersburg Times by Lennie Bennett, “A legacy takes flight.”