Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What a Strange Place for a Work of Art...or not

So, I was going to do an article about the Catasauqua Swimming Pool. Weather is turning hot and my thoughts were turning to keeping cool. However, I could not find anything on line, so I will be making a trip to the Catasauqua Library to start some research. I know it was built as a WPA project during the Great Depression, but my research online DID lead to something very interest and something that I didn't know about, namely Post Office art. Commissioned around the same time as WPA projects often mistaken for WPA Art, Post Office Murals were actually done by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts, commonly known as "The Section". (why does that sound like and Area 51 thing to me) It was established in 1934 and administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department, which was headed by Edward Bruce, a former lawyer, businessman and artist. The Section's main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By putting the art in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.

The mural in the Catasauqua Post Office is one of these works! Titled "Arrival of the Stage" the work was done in 1936 and is oil on canvas. The artist was F. Luis Mora
F. Luis Mora, also known as Francis Luis Mora was America's first Hispanic Master, he lived from 1874 to 1940 was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. He was the son of a great sculptor, Dominigo Mora. They moved to New York 1880 and settled in Perth Amboy, NJ. When Francis was 22 he traveled to Europe with mother and there is where he became inspired by the great artists.

In 1900 he married his wife Sophia, who encouraged him to take up the easel, and that was the start of a very successful career. He did a lot of portrait work - he was commissioned by the Section to do the Presidential portrait of Warren G. Harding which still hangs in the White House.

Mora's work are currently held in or displayed in 34 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in New York and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and lets not forget the Post Office in our town, Catasauqua, PA.

and that's Another Day in Catasauqua.