Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Deal Art: "Inside A Lumber Mill"

Above: "Inside A Lumber Mill," a watercolor by Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997), created while she was in the New Deal's Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), 1934. Falkenstein graduated from the Anna Head School for Girls in Berkeley, California (today, the Head-Royce School in Oakland), and then earned an art degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1930 (see her biography at the Guggenheim Foundation). When she was in the PWAP she lived on Berkeley's Benvenue Avenue. Then, shortly after painting "Inside A Lumber Mill," it appears she created a fresco at Oakland's Piedmont High School, while in the WPA's Federal Art Project. But the current status of the fresco is unclear (see, for example, "Poppy Fresco for Piedmont High School, Oakland, California," Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). After her time as a New Deal artist, Falkenstein went on to become a very prominent sculptress, and her art can be seen at many indoor and outdoor locations in California (see "Claire Falkenstein's strangely contradictory sculptures," Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2016). Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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