James Edwin McBurney WPA Mural Painting | 1930s Allegorical
Here we have an original large prep painting on canvas for a WPA wall mural by renowned mural artist James Edwin McBurney (1868-1955). I'll get straight to the point. I'm a sucker for WPA era paintings. One of the main reasons are the amazing murals found throughout the United States. Here we have the closest thing to an original WPA mural on your wall (50" x 30").
The allegorical painting has everything. A man, a woman, fruit, vegetables, grain, dogs, cats, a mythical statue, flush vegetation, and the Californian mountains exploding in the background. Every inch of this majestic painting pops. Pictures do not do it justice. The prep painting comes out of a storage unit owned by the family of McBurney. The allegorical painting is one of the pieces sold by the family. The painting is not signed but the hand is undeniable.
Here's a biography of McBurney found in the book Artists in California, 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes.
A painter, illustrator and muralist, James McBurney was born in Lore City, Ohio. He studied in New York at the Pratt Institute and with John Twachtmann and Charles Davis, and in Philadelphia at the Drexel Institute and the Brandywine School of Art with Howard Pyle. He then went to Paris where he enrolled in the Academies Colarossi and Castelucho.From 1901 to 1913, he was in Los Angeles where he gave private lessons and taught at a local highschool. One of his students was California artist Mable Alvarez. He also conducted art classes at Laguna Beach, which along with other artists' summer classes helped develop the art colony at Laguna Beach. He was also a muralist in the 1915 Pan American Exposition in San Francisco. In 1919, he left California to teach briefly at the A.E.F. University in Beaune, France, and then went to Chicago, where he had an opportunity to paint murals. Working there until his death on March 2, 1955, he founded an art school,was Art Director for the Chicago Art District and for the City Parks and Recreation, and was active in the WPA Mural projects that have been rediscovered and are being restored in recent years in Chicago. In Chicago, his murals are in the Palmer Park Field House, Woodlawn National Bank, Parkside School, Wentworth School, Scott School, and Tilden Technical School. Murals are also at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the State Agricultural Expo Building in Dubuque, Iowa. Affiliations included the California Art Club and the Cliff Dwellers in Chicago. He exhibited with the Pan-Pacific Exposition in 1915 in San Francisco.
Here's a page featuring a biography and photo of James Edwin McBurney.
The large WPA style painting measures 50" wide by 30" tall. There is slight wear in a few spots, including right below the statue of the woman and boy. The canvas could use a retightening. My feeling is nothing with the condition takes away from the beauty of this WPA mural painting. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
The rare WPA mural painting is available for local purchase only, unless you are willing to fully pay for shipping within the continental USA. Please contact me to figure out the logistics.
It's a phenomenal day when you find an original WPA mural on your wall. I'm fine if it never sells. Unreal.