Pin It

Home » Wisconsin » New Deal WPA Art in Wisconsin

New Deal WPA Art in Wisconsin

Post Office Artwork in Wisconsin – 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

Beaver Dam, WI -Beaver Dam High School murals are attributed to Myron Nutting (see Ray Py article about Wauwatosa)

Madison, WI - The murals in the Paul Bunyan Room in the Wisconsin Student Union in Madison, WI were done by James Watrous funded by the PWAP.

Milwaukee, WI The Natural History Museum murals in Milwaukee are attributed to Myron Nutting (see Ray Py article about Wauwatosa)

The Parklawn Housing Project was built by the WPA. Part of the philosophy was to incorporate art with mixed income families. There are two sculptures still extant done by WPA artists in the central park area of Parklawn.

Racine, WI – The Mitchell School library in Racine, Wisconsin had a series of 5 mural panels done by Santos Zingale under the WPA. These murals are currently in storage. They were removed in the 1950s when the school library was remodeled. They lie in darkness, waiting to be restored!

Wauwatosa, WI – The Wauwatosa, WI High School (now Wauwatosa East High School) murals done by the WPA, were recently restored. Raymond Py, art historian, has published an article,”Unknown Wauwatosa High School Mural Artist was “Lost Generation” Painter of James Joyce Portraits,” about his research into the origins of these murals, now attributed to WPA artist, Myron Nutting.

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

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Berlin Raymond Redell “Gathering Cranberries” 1938 oil on canvas
Black River Ralls Frank E. Buffmire “Lumbering – Black River Mill” 1939 oil on canvas
Chilton Charles W. Thwaites “Threshing Barley” 1940 tempera
Columbus Arnold Blanch “One Hundredth Anniversary” 1940 oil on canvas
DePere Lester W. Bentley “The Red Pieta,”
“Nicholas Perrot,” and “Give Us This Day”
1942 tempera
Edgerton Vladimir Rousseff “Tobacco Harvest” 1941 oil on canvas
Elkhorn Tom Rost “Pioneer Postman” 1938 oil on canvas
Fond du Lac Boris Gilbertson “Birds and Animals of the Northwest” 1937 eleven limestone reliefs
Hartford Ethel Spears “Autumn Wisconsin Landscape” 1940 oil on canvas
Hayward Stella E. Harlos “The Land of Woods and Lakes” 1942 oil on canvas
Hudson Ruth Grotenrath “Unloading a River Barge” 1943 tempera
Janesville Boris Gilbertson “Wild Ducks” 1940 aluminum, four panels
Kaukauna Vladimir Rousseff “A. Grignon Trading with the Indians” 1938 oil on canvas
Kewaunee Paul Faulkner “Winter Sports” 1940 fresco
Ladysmith Elsa Jemne “Development of
the Land”
1938 tempera (painted over)
Lake Geneva George A. Dietrich “Winter Landscape” 1940 oil on canvas
Lancaster Tom Rost “Farm Yard” 1940 oil on canvas
Mayville Peter Rotier “Wisconsin Rural Scene” 1940 oil on canvas
West Allis Branch
Frances Foy “Wisconsin Wild Flowers – Spring” and “Wisconsin Wild Flowers – Autumn” 1943 mural
Neilsville John Van Koert “The Choosing of the County Seat” 1940 tempera
Oconomowoc Edward Morton “Winter Sports” and “Rabbit Hunters” 1938 oil on canvas (in storage)
Park Falls James S. Watrous “Lumberjack Fight on the Flambeau River” 1938 tempera
Plymouth Charles W. Thwaites “Making Cheese” 1942 tempera
Prairie du Chien Jefferson E. Greer “Discovery of Northern Waters of the Mississippi” 1938 plaster relief
Reedsburg Richard Jansen “Dairy Farming” 1940 oil on canvas
Rice Lake Forrest Flower “Rural Deliver” 1938 oil on canvas
Richland Center Ricard Brooks “Decorative Interpretation of Unification of America through the Post” 1937 oil on canvas
Shawano Eugene Higgins “The First Settlers” 1939 oil on canvas
Sheboygan Schomer Lichtner “The Lake,” “The Pioneer,” “Present City,” “Indian Life,” and “Agriculture” 1939 mural (funded by TRAP)
Stoughton Edmund D. Lewandowski “Air Mail Service” 1940 oil on canvas
Sturgeon Bay Santos Zingale “Fruits of Sturgeon Bay” 1940 egg tempera
Viroqua Forrest Flower “War Party” 1942 oil on canvas
Waupauca Raymond Redell “Wisconsin Countryside” 1940 oil on canvas
Wausau Gerrit Sinclair “Lumbering” and “Rural Mail” 1940 tempera
West Bend Peter Rotier “The Rural Mail Carrier” 1937 oil on canvas


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