Philip Guston's mural Work - the American way at the 1939 New York World's Fair
Works Progress Administration
1 photographic print : b&w ; 20 x 25 cm.
1939 May 4
Identification on attachment (typewritten): This mural by Philip Guston at the entrance of the WPA Community Building at the World's Fair is a symbol to convey the idea of "WPA in its relationship to the community", executed under the direction of the Federal Art Project, it serves to announce the theme of the other murals within the building. Note on verso identifies Robbins as photographer, working for Federal Art Project, W.P.A., Photographic Division.
Architectural History of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, 1889-1992
Harris, Albert L
Clark, Edward 1822-1902
Emerson, William Ralph 1833-1917
Hornaday, William Temple 1854-1937
Mann, William M. 1886-1960
Olmsted, Frederick Law 1822-1903
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Elephant House
Works Progress Administration (WPA)
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Lion House
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Construction
Federal Art Project
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Reptile House
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Carnivora House
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Early History
National Zoological Park (U.S.) Buildings
National Zoological Park (U.S.)
Chronology of Smithsonian History
Ewing, H., & Ballard, A. (2009). A guide to Smithsonian architecture. Washington: Smithsonian Books.
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park was founded in 1889, after Smithsonian taxidermist (and Curator of Living Animals) William Temple Hornaday (1854-1937) witnessed the near extinction of the American Bison, causing him to become committed to animal conservation.
The oldest building on the zoo grounds is known as Holt House, and was on the grounds prior to the National Zoo acquiring the land. Holt House is believed to have been built in the early 19th century, and is one of the oldest examples of Neoclassical architecture in Washington, DC.
The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the most famous and successful landscape architects of the time. Fellow Massachusetts architect William Ralph Emerson designed many of the early zoo buildings including the rustic Buffalo Barn and the Carnivora House (Lion House).
The early buildings evoked the natural surroundings, utilizing local materials such as wood and Rock Creek gray gneiss stone. The buildings were simple stone or log cabin style.
Between 1925 and 1956, under the direction of William M. Mann (1886-1960), the National Zoo acquired thousands of new animals, requiring many new buildings. It was during this time that most of the buildings that survive today were built. Buildings erected during this time were designed by the Municipal Architect of Washington. Buildings of this time per iod were also constructed utilizing local materials, but were adorned with sculptures and animal imagery, both inside and out. Many of the buildings and the art displayed were funded under the New Deal programs including the federal Works Progress Administration.
The 1931 Reptile House was designed in Byzanto-Romanesque style, and features semi-circular arches and a symmetrical rectangular design. The 1992 Amazonian Building features architecture meant to mimic that natural ecosystem of a tropical rain forest. Like the Amazonia Building, most of the buildings at the National Zoo do not fit in to particular architectural styles.
Automotive Industry (mural, Detroit Public Library)
Marvin Beerbohm, born Toronto, ON 1908-died North Olmstead, OH 1981
oil on canvas mounted on board
79 3/4 × 190 1/4 in. (202.6 × 483.2 cm)
The Works Progress Administration commissioned Automotive Industry for a library in Detroit, the automobile capital of the world. Beerbohm celebrated the nation's industrial might and the sweat of the laborers who made it happen. At the very center of this mural is a cutaway view of an engine, showing the piston arm pushing down and around the crankshaft to turn the wheels. Beerbohm repeated this shape eight times across the span of the image in the muscular arms of the men who build the cars. The different parts and processes of the factory surround these workers who are like the motor's piston and its connecting arm, at the very heart of the enterprise. The WPA commissioned thousands of images like this, not only to encourage blue-collar workers but to help the nation's artists feel that they were a vital part of America's workforce.Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Figure(s) in interior\industry
New Deal\Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project\Michigan
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the Detroit Public Library
Patrociño Barela, born Bisbee, AZ ca. 1900-died Canon, NM 1964
carved and stained pine
21 5/8 x 44 1/4 x 1 3/4 in. (54.9 x 112.4 x 4.5 cm.)
Patrociño Barela carved several relief sculptures for the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s and ‘40s. This piece was possibly inspired by Japanese involvement in the outbreak of World War II, especially the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Barela carved a rough map of Tokyo Bay, with writing to indicate areas such as “Government Embassy,” “hospital” and “factory district.” The “American Docks and Freight” suggests that Barela hoped American forces would soon invade and occupy Japanese territory.
New Deal\Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project\New Mexico
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration