Udall Department of the Interior Building: Gropper Murals – Washington DC

Project type: Art, Murals
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Description

The Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior building contains one of the largest collections of New Deal art in Washington DC by some of the finest American artists of the time.

William Gropper painted an enormous, 3-panel oil-on-canvas mural, entitled “Construction of a Dam”.  It was commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts c 1936-37 and installed in 1940. The mural, which honors the work of the Bureau of Reclamation, hangs on the 2d floor across the south end of the main corridor.
 
Gropper was a left-leaning artist who celebrated the workers building the dam and in the rightmost panel one can read the forms as a Communist hammer-and-sickle.

The Department of Interior Museum offers regular mural tours; check their website for information and registration. 

For more information on the Interior building, its art and the artists, see Look and Perrault 1986 (below – available online). Artworks begin on p. 110.

 

Source notes

Look, David and Carole Perrault. The Interior Building: Its Architecture and Its Art. Washington DC: US Department of Interior, National Park Service, 1986.  pp. 110-172.   https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015029850214&view=1up&seq=1

Department of the Interior

 

 

Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on March 23, 2015.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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Location Info


1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Coordinates: 38.8943, -77.0425

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