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Minnesota 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

Milaca - the old Milaca City Hall

Sebeka - Richard Haines’ murals in the Sebeka High School

Shakopee - Thanks to Ms. Marian Caron (nee Heinen) and Ms. Gertrude (Siebenaler) Roepke for their contributions of photos, information, and a comprehensive article by Ms. Roepke about the Shakopee High School Library WPA mural painted by Mr. Harmon Arndt in 1938.

New Deal/WPA Art in Minnesota – Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Breckenridge Robert Allaway “Arrival of the Rural Mail” 1938 oil on canvas
Caledonia Edmund D. Lewandowski “Hog Raising” 1942 tempera
Cambridge Seymour Fogel “People of the Soil” 1940 oil on canvas
Chisholm Betty Carney “Discovery of Ore” 1941 oil on canvas
Cloquette Dewey Albinson “Lake Superior Shores – Yesterday and Today” 1937 oil on canvas (missing)
Ely Elsa Jemne “Wilderness” and “Iron-Ore Mines” 1941 tempera
Grand Rapids James S. Watrous “Life in Grand Rapids and the Upper Mississippi” 1940 tempera
Hastings Richard Haines “Arrival of Fall Catalogue” 1938 oil on canvas
(building boarded up in 1972)
David Granahan “Cultivation of Raspberries” 1937 oil on canvas
(funded by TRAP)
Hutchinson Elsa Jemne “The Hutchinson Singers” 1942 egg tempera on plaster
International Falls Lucia Wiley “Logging” 1937 fresco
Litchfield Elof Wedin “Street Scene” 1937 oil on canvas
Long Prairie Lucia Wiley “Gathering Wild Rice” 1939 fresco
Marshall Henry S. Holmstrom “Pioneers Arriving in Marshall by Wagon Train” 1938 oil on canvas
Morris Alfred Sessler “Gager’s Trading Post on the Wadsworth Trail” 1943 tempera on canvas
Park Rapids Alonzo Hauser “Park Service Symbol,” “Indian,” and “Lumberjack in Setting” 1941 wood reliefs
(moved to
Olmsted County Historical Society)
David Granahan “The Founding of Rochester” 1937 mural
Saint Cloud David Granahan “Construction – Saint Cloud” 1937 oil on canvas
Saint Cloud*
(returned to original location)
Brenda Putnam “The Southwest and the Northeast Divided by the Mississippi” 1939 plaster relief
Saint James Margaret Martin “Indian Hunters and Rice Gatherers” 1940 oil on canvas
Saint Paul,
North Saint Paul Branch
Donald Humphrey “Production” 1941 tempera
Saint Paul,
White Bear Lake Branch
Nellie G. Best “Early Voyageurs at Portage” 1940 tempera
Sauk Centre Richard Jansen “Threshing Wheat” 1942 oil on canvas
Wabasha Allan Thomas “The Smoke Message” 1939 oil on canvas
Wayzata Ruth Grotenrath “Wayzata (Pines of the North)” 1947 tempera
Windom Charles W. Thwaites Agricultural Theme 1943 tempera

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

*The St. Cloud plaster relief by Brenda Putnam had been moved to Minnesota Dept. of Manpower Services, 111 Lincoln Ave., SE but has now been returned to its original location at 720 St. Germain Street, St. Cloud (The 1937 WPA U.S. Post Office). The community arranged for return of the sculpture from the State of Minnesota, had the piece restored (it was in 8 pieces), and reinstalled it in its original location, now on display for the public - information courtesy of Matt Riley

Minnesota History Topics: WPA Art Projects A good article with many resources for the Minnesota Federal Art Project

“Art for a People: an Iconographic and Cultural Study of Mural Painting in Minnesota’s New Deal Art Programs”
by Kathleen McCarney, Art History, 1994, College of St. Benedict – St. Johns University
Senior Honors Thesis,
Listing of 66 Slides

“WPA Murals in Minnesota Buildings”
Compiled by University Art Museum, University of Minnesota. Views of surviving WPA murals in public buildings, institutions, and schools throughout Minnesota, including Rochester, Faribault, White Bear Lake, Chisholm, International Falls, Caledonia, Wabasha, Milaca, Sebeka, Windom, and the Minneapolis Armory. MHS call number: I.77 (in the A-V Collection); (there are 66 slides); available only on-site.