National Zoo: Fulda/Mortellito Bas-Reliefs – Washington DC

Project type: Art, Sculpture and Bas Relief
Quality of Information:
Site Survival:
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Elizabeth Fulda was commissioned to make glass mosaics – 9 by 6 foot panels – to be placed over two entrance doors to the new addition to the Bird House done in 1936.  Those were never done.  Instead, her designs were used to create colored concrete panels carved by Dominico Mortellito. Mortellito’s  initials are carved in the panels, but the design is Fulda’s, as can be seen from her drawings submitted to the Fine Arts Commission.

One panel depicts dodos and the other moas.  The panels still exist on the rear of the building – though the doors have been bricked up in past renovations and service structures added.

Fulda also created decorative plate reliefs for the bird cages in the Bird House, sculpted out of zinc.  They were placed in some some of the bird exhibit cages but have since been lost.

These artworks, like others at the zoo done during the New Deal, were funded by the Treasury Relief Arts Program (TRAP), c. 1937.


Source notes

Virginia Price, Historic American Building Survey, National Zoological Park Bird House,  HABS No. DC-777-C. Washington DC: National Park Service. c. 2006.

Photograph of sketches in Fulda, Records of the Public Buildings
Service - Treasury Relief Art Program, 1935-39, RG 121-TR, NACP (from Price 2006, p. 50).

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on July 22, 2013.

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


Location Info

3001 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008

Coordinates: 38.9319, -77.0524

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