Three MusesPhoto byJohn Spears
This 1914 building used to be the Sherman Public Library and now houses a museum that “acquires, preserves, interprets and displays items” of local significance.
“The Carnegie boasts of three oil on wood paintings, by Texas artist James Swann, that were hung in the building in 1934. They are the only examples of WPA art in Grayson County.” (www.theshermanmuseum.org)
The paintings are titled “Music,” “Literature,” and “Painting.”
The three paintings are each 3′ X 7′ oil paintings on pressed wood. The background is gold leaf. The Greek figures were chosen as a representation of Sherman being labeled as the “Athens of Texas” around that time – so-called for the number of educational, religious and cultural institutions at the time.
Swann was born in Merkel, TX in 1906 and attended Sul Ross State Teacher’s College and from 1927-1932 was an artist for the Southwest Engraving Company of Amarillo. In 1936 he moved to Chicago.
After 85+ years hanging in the building, the paintings are currently (as of 2021) being restored and cleaned.
Project originally submitted by The Living New Deal on May 28, 2015.
Additional contributions by Stuart Holcomb.
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