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Roswell, NM New Deal Art

Most of the post office works of art were funded under the Treasury Department’s Section commissions. Those works that were created using TRAP funds are so indicated. Although the WPA funded the construction of post office buildings, the artwork was not WPA but was usually produced under the Section or TRAP programs. Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.

New Deal/WPA Art in Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell, NM Post Office and Courthouse
“Justice – Uphold the Right, Prevent the Wrong” – mural
by Emil Bisttram (1936)
(funded by TRAP)

Photograph from the GSA Fine Arts Collection.

The Roswell, NM mural by Emil Bisttram was originally commisioned during the New Deal for the Federal Court House in Roswell. After this building was demolished, the mural was transported to Albuquerque where it was stored. The mural was discovered in the 1980s in the basement of a nearby federal courthouse, restored and mounted in its present location in 1983. It is currently installed on the 6th floor of the US Court House at 421 Gold SW, Albuquerque, NM.

Next to the mural is an undated article from the Albuquerque Journal stating that in the late 1980s, a biographer of Bisttram named Walt Wiggins happened to visit the courthouse and discovered the mural, whose whereabouts had previously been uncertain. As the mural was originally commisioned during the New Deal for a federal courthouse in Roswell, Wiggins’ theory is that when the Roswell courthouse was demolished, the mural was transported to Albuquerque, but not hung until 1983.
(source: Albuquerque Public Library staff)