The post office contains a Section of Fine Arts mural entitled “Smoky River” painted by Birger Sandzen in 1938.
Smoky River was painted close to Linsborg, KS with the style that he was well known for with strong brush strokes. At the time this work was completed, Sandzen was 67 years old and the brush strokes are not as energetic as his earlier work, but still have a similar quality.
Birger Sandzen was born in Sweden and studied under Anders Zorn in Sweden at what became the Artists League. He studied in Paris under Aman-Jean, a contemporary of Seurat who introduced Sandzen to Pointillism. He accepted a post at Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS, a Swedish community in central Kansas in the Smoky River Valley where he lived for the rest of his life. He became the head of the art department until 1946. He is well known for his bold brush strokes that are reminiscent of van Gogh, but was a printmaker and watercolorist. Although he was prolific, his work is only recently becoming recognized with the largest display at Bethany College at the museum bearing his name.
Park and Markowitz, Democratic Vistas, Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal, 1984. http://www.wpamurals.com/kansas.htm Originally posted in the New Deal Art Registry: http://www.newdealartregistry.org/
Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on August 20, 2012.