Picking Cotton, by Carl Nyquist
The post office contains a mural by Carl Nyquist, installed in 1941, “Picking Cotton.” The mural is 13 feet 6 inches wide and 5 feet high. “The mural, a reflection of the long, flat cotton fields of the area, is an outstanding example of representational art, from the light brown earth color to the clothes the people are wearing…Perhaps the mural’s relationship to history can best be found in the clothing of the individuals. The long cotton dresses were still worn by women in the fields during the early 1930s. This appears to be the time depicted in the mural. Those were Depression years, and sometimes people involved in agriculture were better off than others. On many occasions, entire families of small landowners congregated in the fields to harvest the white cotton. The men wore loose-fitting shirts and trousers and wide-brimmed hats as protection from the hot sun. The bonnets worn by the women served the same purpose” (Hull, 1996, p. 11-12). The artist, Carl Nyquist, was not well known and there is little information on him other than he lived in Washington, DC at the time he executed the painting.
Hull, H. (1996). Tennessee Post Office Murals. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press.
Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on October 25, 2013.
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