Saturday, March 5, 2016

New Deal Art: "Maverick Road." And... what happened to Suzuki's mural?

Above: "Maverick Road," an oil painting by Sakari Suzuki (1899-1995), created while he was in the New Deal's Public Works of Art Project, 1934. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Above: This 1936 photograph shows Suzuki painting a mural for the Willard Parker Hospital for Contagious Diseases (or an adjacent structure, continue reading), located at Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and Fifteenth Street in New York City. The project was funded by the WPA and announced in a New York Times article: "A mural illustrating 'The Progress of Medicine' by Mr. Suzuki will be painted for the living room of the doctors' staff house at Willard Parker Hospital" ("WPA Murals Approved," December 16, 1935). Then, a series of New York Times articles in the early 1960s detailed the sale of the hospital to Consolidated Edison Company, a power company that still operates today. But... what happened to Suzuki's mural? Was the hospital demolished and, if so, was his mural saved? Was the building converted to a different use, does it still exist today, and, if so, is the mural still there? Or, was the doctors' staff house an entirely different structure... perhaps being used today as a company office building, or even a private residence? Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

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