Ha! What an unusual find.  An entire page, no wait, five almost six pages of obscure American art from 1934. I am looking at Flickr: americanartmuseum’s photostream – the official Flickr photostream of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

I assume these paintings were commissioned under the Public Works of Art Project. Why?

J. Theodore Johnson: Chicago Interior, 1934

Because the Great Wikipedia associates my conjecture:

The Public Works of Art Project was a program to employ artists, as part of the New Deal, during the Great Depression. It was the first such program, running from December 1933 to June 1934. It was headed by Edward Bruce, under the U. S. Treasury Dept. and paid for by the Civil Works Admin.

Ilya Bolotowsky: In the Barber Shop, 1934

AT THIS JUNCTURE, I’ve included a few pieces which struck my eye because of their complimentary colorations in warm shades of yellow and red.

But there’s MUCH, MUCH more to know about PWAP and I plan on UPDATING this post!

Ross Dickinson: Valley Farms, 1934

MEANWHILE, I’ve already gone off on a tangent … or perhaps the Coit Tower murals is my new focal point?

The largest of the projects sponsored by the PWAP is the Coit Tower murals in San Francisco’s Coit Tower. This project was also largely CONTROVERSIAL because of the strong influence of DIEGO RIVERA in the city, and the interest of the PWAP to keep publicly sponsored art projects non-revolutionary. …

During the painting of the murals, the Big Strike of 1934 shut down the Pacific Coast. As a result, allusions to the event were SUBVERSIVELY included in the murals by some of the artists!


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