This tempera mural “The Stop of Hooker’s Band in East Hartford before Crossing the River” was one of 48-State Competition Post Office Murals. It has been damaged, but half of the mural remains.
“This five by thirteen foot mural, painted in egg tempera, was the result of a Public Works Administration national competition held in 1940, when Tobey was still an art student at Yale. The painting was influenced by the works of Italian fresco painter Piero della Francesca, and the style is different from the realism that characterizes most of Tobey’s other historical works. Although popularly referred to as “The Founders of Hartford”, the complete title of the work is “The Stop of Hooker’s Band in East Hartford before Crossing the River.” More information on the history of the WPA murals can be found on Nancy Lorance’s WPA Murals home page. The full-color preliminary oil painting for this mural, executed by Tobey preliminary to the execution of the mural itself (as he always did) measures 26 x 44-1/4 inches, and is currently in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
The scene in the painting is of Thomas Hooker addressing his little band of Puritan settlers just before they crossed over the Connecticut River in 1636 to found the city of Hartford. “To express the attributes of the Puritans, stylistically it had to be severe and monumental,” Tobey said.”
"The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration." Kathryn Flynn with Richard Polese. http://www.wpamurals.com/ehartfor.html http://www.altontobey.com/hart.html
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