Michigan New Deal Art
Artists in Michigan:
- Henry Bernstein: The son of Henry Bernstein, WPA artist, has written a detailed and revealing biography of his father, describing the artist from a very personal and insightful viewpoint.
- Samuel Cashwan: He was a sculptor, taught at the University of Michigan during the Depression, and was supervisor of sculpture for the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project in Michigan.
- Francis E. Danovich: University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor
- Carlos Lopez<: “Carlos Lopez: A Forgotten Michigan Painter by George Vargas, Ph.D. Austin, Texas Occasional Paper No. 56, February 1999, Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI).
At the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor – “Legend of Paul Bunyan” (original title) in the Children’s Waiting Room, by Francis E. Danovich (WPA) in 1939. (link contributed by Shannon O’Dell, Curator, Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, UM)
Clare Middle School, Clare, MI
Home to a series of 4 murals by Gerald Mast and an 8′ sculpture by Samuel Cashwan at the Clare Middle School. The Mast murals have been restored and will be re-dedicated in a special ceremony on Saturday, September 4, 2004.
Detroit, MI – Home to the Walter Speck (head of the Detroit FAP) mural sponsored by the West Side Local 174, UAW. Read Jim Burton’s article “Saving a Piece of Labor History,” and see this beautiful piece of labor art.
316 Garfield Building, Detroit: There is a photo of the 13 foot Lincoln Memorial statue made of limestone, funded by the Federal Art Project and sponsored by the Lincoln Consolidated Training School, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The photo shows the artists from this project – Samuel Cashwan, Nelva Browning, Margaret Ann Lau, &Dorris Garrod.
The Brodhead Armory on Jefferson Avenue just past the Belle Isle Bridge in Detroit, MI houses several examples of great WPA art. David Fredenthal created the three murals in the Ward Room (unfortunately suffering from severe water damage). Gustave Hildebrand in 1941 created the fantasy wood carvings, displaying mermaids, seahorses, fish, and flowing water plants.
Grosse Point High School near Detroit houses several WPA murals.
The Detroit Public Library has a mural by Marvin Beerbohm (1908 Canada–1981 USA) funded by the WPA, entitled “Automative Industry.”
Exterior sculpture on the Lansing Water Conditioning Plant in Lansing MI
On the Kresge Art Museum walking tour page is a photo of “Aquarius,” by Samuel Cashwan done in 1938/39. This 32-foot statue stands above the Cedar Street entrance. The Kresge Art Museum currently has an exciting virtual on-line walking tour entitled: New Deal Art and Architecture in East Lansing and Lansing, Michigan.
Located in front of the Kellogg-Dental School on the North University campus at the University of Michigan is a marble-like (probably limestone) sculpture entitled “Willoughby D. Miller”, a memorial of Dr. Miller (class of 1875) that was done by Samuel Adolph Cashwan in 1940 with partial WPA funding.
Royal Oaks - in the auditorium of the Royal Oaks (Dondero) High School are three fabulous WPA murals that are in the process of being restored.
Ypsilanti The Lincoln Consolidated School murals
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
New Deal/WPA Art in Michigan – Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.
|Alma||Joe H. Cox||“Harvest”||1940||oil on canvas|
|Belding||Marvin Beerbohm||“Belding Brothers and Their Silk Industry”||1943||oil on canvas|
|Birmingham||Carlos Lopez||“The Pioneering Society’s Picnic”||1942||tempera|
|Blissfield||Jean Paul Slusser||“Laying the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad”||1939||mural|
|Bronson||Arthur Getz||farm family with produce (subject)||1941||oil on canvas|
|Buchanan||Gertrude Goodrich||“Production”||1941||tempera (painted over but in the process of restoration)|
|Calumet||Joe Lasker||“Copper Mining in Calumet”||1941||mural|
|Caro||David Fredenthal||“Mail on the Farm”||1941||tempera|
|Chelsea*||George Fisher||“The Way of Life”||1938||mural|
|Clare||Allan Thomas||“The Mail Arrives in Clare – 1871″||1937||oil on canvas|
|Crystal Falls||Allan Thomas||“Extending the Frontier in Northwest Territory”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Dearborn (now in the Henry Ford Community College Library)||Rainey Bennett||“Ten Eyck’s Tavern on Chicago Road”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Schomer Lichtner||“City Workers,” “Farm Family,” and “Products of Industry and Agriculture”||1940||tempera|
Highland Park Branch
|Erwin Springweiler||“American Eagle”||1940||stone|
Lincoln Park Branch
|Zoltan Sepeshy||“Great Lakes Fishermen”||1940||(missing)|
Northwestern Branch Postal Station
(now in Wayne State Student Union Building)
|William Gropper||“Automobile Industry”||1941||mural|
|East Detroit||Frank Cassara||“Early Settlers”||1940||tempera|
|East Lansing (now in the Michigan State Library, first floor)||Henry Bernstein||“America’s First Agriculture College”||1938||mural|
|Eaton Rapids||Boris Mestchersky||“Industry and Agriculture”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Fenton||Jerome Snyder, Grace Goodrich (assistant)||“Change of Shift”||1942||tempera|
|Frankfort||Henry Bernstein||“On Board the Carferry (Ann Arbor #4, February 14, 1923)”||1941||tempera|
|Fremont||Lumen Martin Winter||“Pony Express”||1938||mural|
|Grand Ledge||James Calder||“Waiting for the Mail”||1938||mural|
|Grayling||Robert L. Lepper||“The Lumber Camp”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Greenville||Charles W. Thwaites||“Lumbering”||1940||tempera|
|Hart||Ruth Grotenrath||“Boy Rounding Up the Stock”||1941||oil on canvas|
|Howell||Jaroslav Brozik||“Rural Delivery”||1941||mural|
|Iron Mountain||Vladimir Rousseff||historical treatment of mail transportation in the West (subject) – five panels||1935-36||mural (funded by Section and TRAP)|
|Iron River||Milton Horn||“Paul Bunyan Straightening Out the Round River”||1941||wood relief|
|Lowell||Alfred Sessler||“Lumbering in Early Lowell”||1941||tempera|
|Manistique||David Fredenthal||“Logging”||1941||oil on canvas|
|Marquette||Dewey Albinson||“Marquette Exploring Shores of Lake Superior”||1938||oil on canvas|
|Mason||Marion Overby||“Early Postman”||1939||terra-cotta|
(now in the Monroe County Community College)
|Ralph Hendricksen||“Romance of Monroe”||1938||mural|
|Munising||Hugo Robus||“Chippewa Legend”||1939||plaster|
|Paw Paw||Carlos Lopez||“Bounty”||1940||tempera|
|Plymouth||Carlos Lopez||“Plymouth Trail”||1938||mural|
|River Rouge||Marshall M. Fredericks||“The Horseless Buggy,” “Train,” “Ship,” and “Air”||1939||stone, facade|
|Rochester||Alexander Sambugnac||“Communication”||1937||cast stone|
|Rockford||Pierre Bourdelle||“Among the Furrows”||1940||encaustic|
|Rogers City||James Calder||“Harbor at Rogers City”||1941||oil on canvas|
|Saint Clair||James Calder||“St. Clair river”||1939||oil on canvas|
|Sandusky||Frank Cassara||“Cattle Auctions”||1942||oil and tempera|
|Traverse City||Marion Overby||“The Cherry Picker”||1941||wood relief|
|Wayne||Algot Stenbery||“Landscape near Wayne – 1876″||1939||mural
All mural images depicted on this site are used with permission of the United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.