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Iowa New Deal Art

Post Office Artwork in Iowa - 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


Ames, IA – Artist Grant Wood’s largest murals are in the Parks Library, Iowa State University. Wood designed the murals, which were painted by artists in the 1930′s WPA program. The library is located at Grand and Main Streets in Ames, IA. Considered among the best works of this Iowa artist, the nine murals began as a WPA project during the Great Depression. They depict various academic divisions of the school as well as the breaking of the sod by pioneer farmers.

Cedar Rapids, IA – There is a WPA mural in the Harrison Elementary School done by William E. Henning, one of Grant Wood’s proteges. The mural depicts the history of transportation in Cedar Rapids and still hangs in the hallway in the main foyer area of the school.

Waterloo, IA – There is a WPA mural by Edgar Britton in the Waterloo, IA Library. It might be moved to the Cedar Falls library if the old Waterloo Library building is torn down.

Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Algona(now the Algona Public Library) Francis Robert White “Daily Bread” 1941 oil on canvas
Ames Lowell Houser “Evolution of Corn” 1938 oil on canvas
Audubon Virginia Snedeker “Audubon’s Trip down the Ohio and Mississippi – 1820″ 1942 oil on canvas
Bloomfield John Sharp “Autumn in Iowa” 1940 oil on canvas
Cedar Rapds,
Courthouse
Francis R. White “Community Service,” “Development of the West,” “Archeological Research,” and “Superstition and Science” 1937 tempera
(funded by TRAP)
Clarion Paul Faulkner farm scene 1943 tempera
Columbus Junction Sante Graziani “Lovers’ Leap” 1942 fresco
Corning Marion Gilmore “Band Concert” 1941 egg tempera
on gesso
Corydon Marion Gilmore “Volunteer Fire Department” 1942 mural
Cresco Richard Haines “Iowa Farming” 1937 oil on canvas
De Witt
(now City Hall)
John V. Bloom “Shucking Corn” 1938 oil on canvas
Dubuque Bertrand R. Adams “Early Settlers of Dubuque” 1937 oil on canvas
Dubuque William E. L. Bunn “Early Mississippi Steamboat” 1937 oil on canvas
Emmetsburg Lee Allen “Conservation of Wild Life” 1940 oil on canvas
Forest City Orr C. Fisher “Evening on the Farm” 1942 oil on canvas
Hamburg William E. L. Bunn “Peony Festival at Hamburg” 1941 mural (extensive damage)
Harlan Richard Gates “The Farmer Feeding Industry” 1937 oil on canvas
Hawarden John Sharp “Hunters” 1942 oil on canvas
Ida Grove Andrene J. Kauffman “Preparation for the First County Fair in Ida Grove – 1872″ 1940 oil on canvas
Independence Robert Tabor “Postman in Storm” 1938 oil on canvas
Jefferson Tom Savage “The New Calf” 1938 oil on canvas
Knoxville Marvin Beerbohn “Pioneer Group at the Red Rock Line – 1845″ 1941 oil on canvas
Leon A. Criss Glasell “Rural Free Delivery” 1938 tempera
Manchester William E. Henning “Iowa Farm Life” 1938 mural
Marion (now City Hall) Dan Rhodes “Communication by Mail” 1939 tempera
Missouri Valley Francis Robert White “Iowa Fair” 1938 tempera
Monticello William C. Palmer “Iowa Landscape” 1941 oil on canvas
Mount Ayr Orr C. Fisher “The Corn Parade” 1941 oil on canvas
Mount Pleasant Dorothea Tomlinson “Mount Pleasant in the Forties” 1939 oil on canvas
New Hampton Tom Savage “Breaking the Colt” 1939 oil on canvas
Onowa Lee Allen “Soil Erosion and Control” 1938 oil on canvas
Osceola Byron B. Boyd “Arrival of the First Train” 1936 oil on canvas
Pella Byron B. Boyd “Hollanders Settle in Pella” 1938 tempera
Rockwell City John Sharp “Summer” 1941 oil on canvas
Sigourney Richard Olsen “Indian Harvest” 1940 oil on canvas
Storm Lake (moved to Public Library) Dan Rhodes “Storm Lake” 1937 oil on canvas
Tipton John V. Bloom “Cattle” 1940 oil on canvas
Waterloo (now Public Library) Edgar Britton “Exposition” and “Holiday” 1940 fresco
Waverly Mildred Pelzer Lynch “Letter from Home in 1856″ 1938 oil on canvas

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