Saline County Courthouse Mural – Benton AR

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Description

Julius Woeltz painted this 12′ x 6′ oil on canvas mural, entitled “The Bauxite Mines,” in 1942 for the Treasury Section of Fine Arts. The mural was originally installed in the Benton post office and it now hangs in the Saline County Courthouse.

From the Benton Courier: “The mural’s early history is profiled in a publication, titled ‘Postmasters: Arkansas Post Office Art in the New Deal,’ by John Purifoy Gill.

“In the publication, Gill notes that Arkansas’ bauxite mines were a natural inspiration for Julius Woeltz, a University of Texas art professor, who received an invitation to paint the mural just five months before the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor.

This occurred at a time when the mines were swept into full-scale production for America’s only source of bauxite, used to produce aluminum for war planes and other weapons.

Woeltz visited Benton in July 1941. By August he had produced a sketch showing the operations of an open pit mine. In lieu of a pencil sketch, he submitted one in color because he contended it would more accurately explain the complicated background resulting from the removal of top layers of earth to reach the bauxite strata.

In Gill’s book, he points out that a Texas newspaper, dated Dec. 7, 1941, contains a photograph of Woeltz standing before a full-sized charcoal sketch of the mural that reflects miners drilling holes for dynamite and others loading ore cars.

The completed mural was later shipped to Benton Postmaster C.F. Elza, but Woeltz could not install it since he was unexpectedly commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.” (thecabin.net)

Source notes

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=454
Flickr user Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Lynda Hollenbeck, "Bauxite Mines mural nearly lost forever," Benton Courier, January 20, 2004

WPA Murals, Arkansas

Originally posted in the New Deal Art Registry: http://www.newdealartregistry.org/

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Location Info


200 North Main Street
Benton, AR 72015

Location notes: First Floor Lobby

Coordinates: 34.565044, -92.587435

7 comments on “Saline County Courthouse Mural – Benton AR

  1. Avatar Eric Hairston

    my grandfather Louis Hairston died in the Bauxite Mines in 1943 during ww2 ,all the men that died mining bauxite for all the airplanes we built to win the war, have been forgotten! Please they need a memorial

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