American Dioramas, American Murals and American Muralists


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Dioramas, American Murals and American Muralists." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

Following articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.

Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

Allen True's West (3/22/11)

Allen True's West (11/13/09)

William Palmer: Drawing from Life (9/2/09)

The Mural Tradition; essay by Edmund Barry Gaither (8/5/09)

Preserving a Legacy: Wishard Hospital Murals (1/29/09)

Forgotten Dreams: The Paintings of Edward Grant (1/13/09)

For the People: American Mural Drawings of the 1930s and 1940s; essay by Patricia E. Phagan (5/1/08)

The Holy Experiment: Violet Oakley Mural Studies (11/6/07)

Grant Wood's Corn Room Mural (9/17/07)

Minerva Teichert: Pageants in Paint (7/23/07)

Sampler Tour of Decorative Ceramic Tiles from Catalina Island (5/23/07)

For the People: American Mural Drawings of the 1930s and 1940s (1/23/07)

Reginald Marsh, U.S. Custom House Murals: Reframed and Reseen; article by Lisa Leavitt (7/29/05)

Heroic America: James Daugherty's Mural Drawings from the 1930s; essay by Rebecca E. Lawton (6/23/05)

John Biggers: My America, The 1940s and 1950s -- Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings (1/31/05)

Edmund Lewandowski Murals Uncovered at the Flint Institute of Arts (11/30/04)

Eric Bransby: Draftsman and Muralist; essay by William Underwood Eiland (4/28/04)

The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection (2/23/04)

"Creating an Iconography for a New State: The Arizona State Capitol Murals," from The Cowboy's Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee; by Betsy Fahlman (6/7/02)

Albert Henry Krehbiel (1873-1945): American Impressionist, Muralist and Art Educator; article by Donald T. Ryan, Jr (5/25/02)

Those Who Came Before Us: The Indian Murals of H. D. Bugbee (6/22/01)

Exeter's Mural Art (5/16/00)


From other websites:

"The African-American murals of Los Angeles: putting art where people live - California," American Visions, Dec-Jan, 1994 by Robin J. Dunitz from [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

Albert Henry Krehbiel (1873-1945), American Impressionist Painter and Muralist: Murals Exhibit from Krehbiel Corporation. Accessed August, 2015.

Arkansas Post Office Murals from University of Central Arkansas. Accessed August, 2015.

Art in the Atrium: Kerry James Marshall an exhibit held September 20, 2014 - February 26, 2009 - October 11, 2011 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Includes videos. Accessed April, 2015.

Celebrating Heroes: American Mural Studies of the 1930s and 1940s from the Steven and Susan Hirsch Collection is an exhibit held September 2 - December 18, 2016 at The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. The museum says: "The 1930s and 1940s were a golden age for murals in America where the everyday worker rose to the status of a primary hero. The Great Depression forged a renewed belief in the centrality of the laborer, and the federal government sponsored numerous work programs, including those for visual artists. Wall paintings about larger-than-life miners, farmers, and others covered walls in public buildings across the country. Preliminary ideas played out in sketches, however, and almost fifty of these are displayed in this exhibition, which honors gifts donated by Susan and Steven Hirsch, class of 1971." The museum posted a news release and checklist for the exhibit. Accessed August, 2016.

Chicano Mural Movement from the Texas State Historical Association Accessed August, 2015.

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is a comprehensive website devoted to "world's largest collection of outdoor public art" with sections featuring images of murals, how a mural is made, and more. Accessed August, 2015.

"Chatham Post Office Mural Depicts Southern Harvest" by Herman E. Melton, Special to the Star-Tribune, Chatham, Virginia, March 21, 2001. Accessed August, 2015.

Courthouse Murals, by Dianna Cammarota, from Boise City Revue. Accessed August, 2015.

Diorama background painters from American Museum of Natural History. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

Edgar Paxson Murals, an exhibit held June 13 - September 06, 2014 at the Missoula Art Museum. Includes audio and video. Accessed March, 2015.

Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers is a 2017 exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art which says: "Upon completion of the conservation treatment, the life-size mural paintings will go on view September 5, 2017 through May 28, 2018 in the exhibition Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers (1910-1914), overseen by The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA, Sue Canterbury." Accessed 11/17

Ethel Magafan (1916-1993) American Muralist; Painter of Abstract Western Landscapes by Alisha Patrick, from Sullivan Goss. Accessed August, 2015.

For the People, an exhibit held July 12 - March 11, 2007 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Includes news release. From Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Accessed August, 2015.

George Beattie's Agriculture Murals, August 01, 2012 - January 20, 2013 from Georgia Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

Grand Themes Need Great Art by James F. Cooper, From American Arts Quarterly: Volume 24, number 3 (about Graydon Parrish's commemorative mural The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001) Accessed August, 2015.

The Great Wall of Los Angeles: Judith F. Baca's Experimentations in Collaboration and Concrete is a 2017 exhibit at the University of California, Northridge, Art Galleries  which says: "As part of the Getty's initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the University Art Galleries at California State University Northridge (CSUN) presents Judith F. Baca's Experiments in Collaboration and Concrete, an exhibition surveying the nearly fifty-year career of mural making by CSUN's alumna Judith F. Baca, Los Angeles's premiere muralist, mentor, educator, and community activist." Also see press release    Accessed 12/17

"The History of Dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History," an essay by Steve Quinn, from Wonderstruck. Accessed August, 2015.

Indians at the Post Office: Native Themes in New Deal-Era Murals from Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Accessed August, 2015.

Keith Haring: The End of the Line is a 2017 exhibit at the Cranbrook Art Museum which says: "The Cranbrook mural introduced stylistic shifts of intentional drips and blotches, but it also depicted characters he continued to explore in Apocalypse and The Valley, such as jesters, masks, skulls, martyrs, and other religious icons." Accessed 12/17

Los Angeles Murals by Ruth Wallach, from USC Libraries. Accessed August, 2015.

Lost Mural of Ellis Island, an exhibit held January 10 through March 23, 2014 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon. Accessed March, 2015.

"Made in Montana: Montana's Post Office Murals" from Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Autumn 2003 by Mentzer, Elizabeth (Link found expired as of 8/12/09 audit. Source site may contain this content via a revised URL)

Mexican American Exterior Murals by Daniel D. Arreola, Geographical Review. Vol. 74, No. 4 (Oct., 1984), pp. 409-424, from Jstor. Accessed August, 2015.

Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles is an encyclopedic site of murals, muralists and other information. Accessed August, 2015.

¡Murales Rebeldes!: Contested Chicanao Public Art is a 2017 exhibit at the California Historical Society Museum which says: "¡Murales Rebeldes! presents stories of eight Chicana/o murals that were censored, neglected, whitewashed, and even destroyed. They are a small fraction of the hundreds of murals under siege." Accessed 11/17

Murals of Lane County OR, a photo Essay by Herman Krieger, from Herman Krieger. Accessed August, 2015.

Murals of Los Angeles, from Geocities. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County diorama artists from Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County. Accessed August, 2015.

New Deal Post Office Murals, from Parma Conservation, Ltd. Accessed August, 2015.

Off The Wall: New Deal Post Office Murals by Patricia Raynor, from Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

Pictures of Post Office Murals from around the country, from San Antonio Alamo Area Local APWU AFL-CIO. Accessed August, 2015.

Post Office Murals from Texas State Historical Association. Accessed August, 2015.

Post Office New Deal Artwork in Missouri, from Accessed August, 2015.

Richard Haines (1906-1984), American Muralist, Modernist, Geometic Abstractionist, by Frank Goss, from Sullivan Goss. Accessed August, 2015.

Shara Hughes: Carving out Fresh Options is a 2018 exhibit at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park which says: " This imaginary landscape plunges viewers into boldly colored, hallucinatory spaces. Sweeping trails of paint frame views of a dramatic waterfall, carved rock formations, and a winding river. Hughes uses varied painting techniques, including staining and airbrush, to create ecstatic interpretations of the natural world." Accessed 4/19

Single G Mural at the Cambridge City, Indiana Post Office from waynet. Accessed August, 2015.

Texas Post office Murals from Texas Historical Commission. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.] Also see a review of the book "The Texas Post Office Murals - Art for the People" from Texas A&M University Press. Accessed 11/16

Transcultural: A Mural by Rigo Peralta is a 2016-18 exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum, which says: "Incorporating imagery from Taino and Mayan architecture and building on the tradition of heroic figures in mural painting, Peralta's work addresses both personal and regional identity and history." Also see "Rigo Peralta's Allentown Art Museum mural captures changing cultural landscape" by Tim Higgins in The Morning Call 1/21/16. Accessed 11/16

Wall Murals in Brooklyn: A Mini Survey, from the Tiles in New York blog by Michael W. Padwee, who says "Modern wall art has become a monumental art in many ways. It has evolved from street graffiti into an art form that encompasses varied types of art, from ceramics to trompe-l'il painting. Brooklyn has them all." Accessed March, 2016.

Windsor Library Mural by American muralist Allyn Cox (1896-1982) from Windsor Public Library. Accessed August, 2015.

Yale Peabody Museum's dioramas from Yale Peabody Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

Artists' Techniques Rendered Habitat Dioramas Mesmerizingly Real blog page from American Museum of Natural History includes two videos. Accessed August, 2015.

Birding at the Museum: Great Diorama Artists blog page from American Museum of Natural History includes a video, plus links to similar videos. Accessed August, 2015.

Coit Tower- California's Gold (12004) is a 26-minute episode from Huell Howser's California's Gold television series.from January, ,2010. It is presented online without charge by the Chapman University Huell Howser Archive. The Archive page containing the episode says: "Coit Tower was built on top of Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco; Lillie bequeathed one-third of her estate to the City of San Francisco "to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved." Huell spends the day exploring all aspects of this San Francisco landmark, including the beautiful murals that adorn the lobby with the descendants of one of the original artists." Accessed January, 2015.

Georgia Museum of Art has posted numerous videos on the Web. Examples include GMA scholars' 2012 commentary concerning the exhibit George Beattie's Agriculture Murals in videos from four to eight minutes in length. Accessed May, 2015.

Lompoc Mural- California's Gold (1010)) is a 25-minute episode from Huell Howser's California's Gold television series.from January, 1999. It is presented online without charge by the Chapman University Huell Howser Archive. The Archive page containing the episode says: "In a fitting tribute to an obscure piece of California history, the town of Lompoc decided the flower flag was a wonderful image for their annual Mural-in-a-Day event as part of the Old Town Faire. The mural was painted by 15 talented artists and is truly beautiful. Huell met some folks from Bodger Seed and even someone who helped plant the "flag" in 1952." Accessed January, 2015.

Monterey Museum of Art presents as of June 2011 "Installing Gottardo Piazzoni's Final Murals" a 08:12 "Behind the Scenes" YouTube video introduced by the museum's director, E. Michael Whittington, in connection with the exhibition From Dawn to Dusk: Gottardo Piazzoni's Final Murals, on display April 27, 2011 - December 2012. As of 2013 the Museum had uploaded 16 videos concerning artist interviews, conservation work and installations. Accessed May, 2015.

Mural Artists Help Beautify Washington, DC. video from Voice of America. Accessed May, 2015.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles produced a video titled JR / "The Wrinkles of Los Angeles", available online through ArtBabble. According to ArtBabble, "This new film by theonepointeight shows street artist JR during the making of "The Wrinkles of Los Angeles" in Los Angeles in early 2012. This work 'links the memory of the elderly and the architecture of the cities marked by the scars of history, their economic development, and their socio-cultural changes. By meeting and photographing these people to paste their portraits on the walls, JR imagines the wrinkles on their faces as the marks of time, traces of life mixing with the history of the city.'" This is episode 2. Accessed June, 2015.

Ron DiCianni: Painting the Resurrection (04:24) features the artist discussing The Resurrection Mural, 12' x 40', oil on canvas, commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX. Video appeared on Accessed August, 2015.

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. Museum of Science, Boston partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for Extreme Makeover: Mural Edition, (1 hour, 17 minutes) in which Gianfranco Pocobono and Richard Wolbers discuss what happens when the conservation choices are not clear cut and the world is watching. In 'One of the most significant restoration projects anywhere in America', science and art merged to conserve the John La Farge murals at Trinity Church Boston. Art and science have continually flirted over the centuries. Both investigate. Both involve theories and transforming information into something else. This lecture is a part of a Museum of Science series 'When Science Meets Art', which examines the mysterious symbiosis of science with art through the ingenuity of those shattering the boundaries between the two fields. [January 11, 2006] Accessed May, 2015.


DVD or VHS videos:

Indiana Murals of Thomas Hart Benton: Visions of the Past, Lessons for the Present and Treasures for the Future, The. Presents the story of the murals painted by Thomas Hart Benton (depicting the history of the state of Indiana from the early Native Americans until the 1930s) from their creation for the World's Fair of 1933 to a major restoration in the 1990s. Includes commentary by art historians and museum curators. c2001. 41 min. Video/C 9353. Available from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Painting the Town: The Illusionistic Murals of Richard Haas Introduces the work of architectural muralist Richard Haas (b. 1936), whose mammoth murals using the "fool-the-eye" painting tradition have transformed contemporary cityscapes. The video explores the evolution of Haas' murals and uses time-lapse photography to demonstrate how they are made. Includes the Chisholm Trail mural in Fort Worth, Texas. 56-minute video. Description source: Amon Carter Museum Teacher Resource Center

Thomas Hart Benton's Missouri  28 minute / 1992 / FFH - "America's foremost folk muralist, the late Thomas Hart Benton, was at the apex of his career when he painted the Social History of Missouri mural which ambitiously depicts that state's progress from pioneer days to the Depression era. Benton's own narration from recorded interviews is used and supplemented by historian Bob Priddy."

Visiting...With Huell Howser #1505 - DIORAMA is a 28 minute DVD/VHS video in which "Huell visits the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to discover the history of its famous animal dioramas... A visit with Robert Reid who has been the resident artist for 20 years at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and the man responsible for creating all of the beautiful dioramas. From deserts to beaches, Robert captures the natural beauty with his paint brushes. Robert works closely with Tim Bovard who is the Taxidermist and the man responsible for making all those animals look so lifelike. Together, they make a unique team." Text courtesy of Huell Howser Productions.

Visiting...With Huell Howser #1005 - MOSAICS is a 28 minute 2002 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its Web site: "You've seen his work all across the Southland. Meet Denis O'Connor master mosaic tile artist, who has created some of the largest and most amazing mosaics in America." In this video, Denis O'Connor creates a large glass tile mosaic mural for St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island, in Newport Brach, CA. Huell follows the creation of the mural in O'Conner's two studios through to its installation in the chapel.

Visiting...With Huell Howser #738 - MURALS is a 28 minute 1999 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its Web site: "Huell visits a local elementary school to join a group of 5th graders on a field trip to some of LA's many murals. Along for the ride is the artists himself to discuss his art with the children. All in all it's a great LA day!"

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A Guide to Chicago's Murals by Mary Lackritz Gray, University of Chicago Press, 2001, from Google books. A review says "... With full-color illustrations of nearly two hundred Chicago murals and accompanying entries that describe their history-who commissioned them and why, how artists collaborated with architects, the subjects of the murals and their contexts-A Guide to Chicago's Murals serves both a general and a specific audience. Divided into easy-to-read geographical sections with useful maps for walking tours, it is the perfect companion for tourists or Chicagoans interested in coming to know better this aspect of the city's history. Gray also provides crucial information on lesser-known artists and on murals that have been destroyed over the years, filling a gap in the visual record of the city's development.... Gray also includes biographies of more than 150 artists and a glossary of key terms, making A Guide to Chicago's Murals essential reading for mural viewing. From post offices to libraries, fieldhouses to banks, and private clubs to street corners, Mary Gray chronicles the amazing works of artists who have sought to make public declarations in this most social of art forms. (left: front cover of A Guide to Chicago's Murals)

The Texas Post Office Murals: Art for the People, by Philip Parisi, Texas A&M University Press, 2004. from Google books. A review says "... In Texas alone, artists painted ninety-seven artworks for sixty-nine post offices and federal buildings around the state. Painted by some of the best-known artists of the day, these murals sparkled with scenes of Texas history, folklore, heroes, common people, wildlife, and landscapes.... Murals were created from San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas to Big Spring, Baytown, and Hamilton. The artists included Tom Lea, Jerry Bywaters, Peter Hurd, Otis Dozier, Alexandre Hogue, and Xavier Gonzalez. The images showed people at work and featured industries specific to the region, often coupled with symbols of progress such as machinery and modern transportation. Murals depicted cowboys and stampedes, folk heroes from Sam Bass to Davy Crockett, revered Indian chief Quanah Parker, and community symbols such as Eastland's lizard mascot, Ol' Rip."


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