“Painting Section” or Painting Texas?: Negotiating Modernity and Identity in the Texas New Deal Post Office Murals

dc.contributor.advisorOrfila, Jorgelina
dc.contributor.advisorTate, Carolyn E.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberLevario, Miguel
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPeaslee, Robert M.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberOrtega-Grimaldo, Francisco
dc.creatorWheeler, Bryan E E
dc.creator.orcid0000-0001-5974-9591
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-04T15:54:49Z
dc.date.available2018-09-04T15:54:49Z
dc.date.created2015-08
dc.date.issued2015-08
dc.date.submittedAugust 2015
dc.date.updated2018-09-04T15:54:49Z
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation addresses the Texas New Deal Post Office murals, which were commissioned by the Section of Fine Arts as part of a national New Deal arts program meant to decorate newly constructed Post Offices. I analyze the Texas murals from local, state, regional and national perspectives to argue two primary, interrelated points concerning their production and interpretation. First, in contrast to prior, general scholarship on the Section of Fine Arts murals, this study contends that the artists hired by the Section to paint in Texas Post Offices did not have to change their usual styles or subject matter in order to gain Section commissions. Rather, the muralists who painted in Texas worked from one of seven regionalist art centers located throughout the American Southwest and had followed or pioneered American Scene principles later adopted by the Section of Fine Arts. Second, this study foregrounds the murals as containers of meaning related to their local contexts. This approach also contrasts with prior scholarship, which has primarily connected the murals’ themes with national issues related to the Great Depression. This study concludes that the murals, as containers of meaning issuing from the artists’ intentions and their local contexts, reflect not just issues related to the Great Depression, but broader problems surrounding the intrusion of modernity into Texas in the late 1930s and early 1940s. More specifically, this dissertation interprets the murals within a shift in Texas identity at this time, from one based on diverse, regional distinctions to a constructed, unified and exceptionalist identity.
dc.description.abstractEmbargo status: Restricted to TTU community only. To view, login with your eRaider (top right). Others may request the author grant access exception by clicking on the PDF link to the left.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2346/74364
dc.subjectAmerican art
dc.subjectDepression
dc.subjectNew Deal
dc.subjectPost office murals
dc.subjectAmerican Scene
dc.subjectRegionalism
dc.subjectTexas
dc.subjectIdentity
dc.subjectModernity
dc.subjectExceptionalism
dc.subjectSection of Fine Arts
dc.subjectPeter Hurd
dc.subjectVictor Arnautoff
dc.subjectSouthwest regionalism
dc.title“Painting Section” or Painting Texas?: Negotiating Modernity and Identity in the Texas New Deal Post Office Murals
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.materialtext
thesis.degree.departmentArt
thesis.degree.disciplineFine Arts - Art
thesis.degree.grantorTexas Tech University
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy

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