WPA and New Deal America

Collection Description

In 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a number of programs to pull the United States out of the Great Depression and reform the country’s economic system. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs touched many aspects of American society, including the arts. The Wolfsonian’s collection contains prints, posters, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and illustrated books produced by artists working for the Federal Arts Project as well as a great variety of materials intended to persuade the public to embrace such New Deal initiatives as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Rural Electrification Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Also in the collection are dozens of studies for murals, which were submitted to competitions organized by the Treasury Department for the decoration of federal buildings such as post offices.

Automobile and trailer
The Wealth of the Nation
Rock Quarry: study of a worker with a pneumatic drill [mural study for U.S. Post Office, Westerly, Rhode Island]
Circus Girl
Dedication by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt: South Side Community Art Center, May 7, 1941
Decorative Maps of the Sixth Corps Area; Post Office, Chicago, Illinois
Decorative Maps of the Sixth Corps Area; Post Office, Chicago, Illinois
Spirit of Democracy, For the Hall of Legislation, US Government Building, 1939 NY World's Fair (unrealized)
Apache Dance, Produced for Safford, Arizona Post Office competition, organized by Section of Fine Arts, Treasury Department (installed 1941)
Italian Victorian House
Orchard Street
Pennsylvania Industries
Exhibition of work by teachers of the Art Teaching Division: Federal Art Project, Works Progress Administration : July 20 to August 11, 1938 | Exhibition of work by art teachers on the Federal Art Project: July 20 to August 11, Federal Art Gallery, 225 West 57th Street