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New Deal Murals and Reliefs Collection

We have new additions to our California New Deal Murals and Reliefs Collection!

Our long-standing digital collection attempts to document all the murals and relief undertaken in the state of California as part of art projects funded by the New Deal. This includes not only work undertaken through the Federal Art Project as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) but also post office murals funded by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts in the United States Department of the Treasury.

In recent months, we've been able to add many photographs to the original collection, further enhancing its usefulness for scholars and those with an interest in the New Deal. A few are highlighted below. One stand-out is the Orange Pickers. This painting is widely listed online as having been destroyed with the building in 1973 but one of our intrepid staff members tracked down the painting and obtained a digital image along with permission to include it in our collection. Well done!

 

City Life

City Life

A close-up of a mural that is a pastiche of locations in downtown San Francisco. The artist includes a self-portrait: the man next to the magazine stand. Funded by the Public Works of Art Project.
Point Loma

Point Loma

View from the foothills looking over San Diego Bay toward Point Loma. Originally located at the Memorial Junior High School. Funded by the Federal Art Project.

 

Story of Life

Story of Life

Originally painted for the Sunset Grammar School (now the Sunset Center), this mural depicts a tree with a wide array of human, animal and plant life surrounding it. The mural now stands in the Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council Chambers. Photograph courtesy of Britt Avrit, city clerk of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Orange Pickers

Orange Pickers

One of four panels depicting the contrast between orange picking in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Mural is framed and mounted in the Agriculture Museum as of early 2021 on loan from Sunkist Growers, Inc. Photograph provided courtesy of Renee Tallent, Smith-Hobson Family Collections Manager of the Agriculture Museum, Museum of Ventura County.