In the 1930s, as America continued to struggle with the effects of the depression, the federal government searched for solutions to provide work for all Americans, including artists. Post office murals were executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts, whose main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings. Mural artists were provided with guidelines and themes for executing their mural studies. Scenes of local interest and events were deemed to be the most suitable. Genre themes were the most popular subject matter for post office murals. Historical events and daring and courageous acts were popular themes as well.
Created in a style reminiscent of Diego Rivera’s famous murals, this relief sculpture Family Group depicts a working class family. The father lounges with his head in his wife’s lap while their child, sitting on her shoulders, reached for a bird. A church, two trees, and a pair of clouds make up the background. This composition plays off many themes common in pro-American art, such as the importance of the nuclear family, the outdoors, the church, and reaching for something seemingly unattainable.
Year Completed: 1942