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

Project type: Art Works, Murals
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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.

From 1939 to 1941, Allan Capron Houser and other Indian artists were invited by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts to study mural painting with Olle Nordmark and then paint murals in the Interior building.  Houser was from the Fort Sill Apache Tribe in Oklahoma.

In the South Penthouse on the 8th floor (the former Employees’ Break Room), Houser painted three large murals on “Apache Scenes” in 1940: “Singing Love Songs,” “Apache Round Dance” and “Sacred Fire Dance”.

Houser also painted smaller murals in the Indian Craft Shop on the first floor.

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. 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

McLerran, Jennifer. 2009. A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933-1943. University of Arizona Press.

Project originally submitted by New Deal Art Registry on December 30, 2014.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Coordinates: 38.8943, -77.0425

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