A Forgotten Arts Competition – For Ships!

Did you hear the one about the New Deal competition to decorate round-the-world passenger-cargo ships? No? You’re not alone. Few people know of this 1940 Section of Fine Arts competition, which generated over 70 pieces of art for six ships.

Living New Deal Associate Wayne Yanda has been researching this competition for several years and had the opportunity to visit with the last surviving winner, Bernard Perlin, whose post office mural in South Orange, NJ can still be seen. Other notable winners were Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Hildreth Meière, and Edmund Lewandowski.  Over 450 artists submitted more than 1400 designs, the second largest held by the Fine Arts Section after 1939’s 48-State competition.

Yanda has started a RocketHub crowdfunding campaign for a research trip to the National Archives and the Archives of American Art. If enough people donate, he’ll spend almost two weeks gathering the images and documents needed for his book, tentatively titled, Arts Afloat: The New Deal’s Lost Competitions. An exhibit is also in the works.

Visit https://www.rockethub.com/projects/51615-arts-afloat-the-new-deal-s-lost-competitions to learn more about this project. The last day to take part is Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

Richard A Walker is the director of the Living New Deal.

3 comments on “A Forgotten Arts Competition – For Ships!

  1. Tried link for rockethub but it says “disabled link”

    • Evan Kalish

      Jane, thanks for pointing this issue out; it should now be resolved!

  2. Wayne Yanda

    Have raised $635 so far; keep it coming!


    And here’s a link of Edmund Lewandowski creating a mural for the ss President Van Buren, one of the ships decorated in this competition. … https://youtu.be/BJTZt7r5-7A

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.