Truman Federal Building (State Department): Sculptures – Washington DC


The State Department was originally built for the War Department in 1940-41 and has been known since 2000 as the Harry S. Truman Federal Building.  It is home to three sculptures commissioned for the original War Department building.

•An eagle over the building entrance by Harry Kreis (1942)

•A lime casein on plaster work entitled “Defense of the Four Freedoms” by Kindred McLeary (1941)

•”War and Peace” by Earl N. Thorp (1941)

Another work by Harry Kreis (1942), entitled “Soldier Groups,” was originally in the lobby of the War Department but has apparently disappeared (see comment below)

A fifth commissioned work, a bas-relief called “Peaceful Pursuits of American Life” by Jean de Marco (1942) was never completed, when the artist’s commission was terminated. The model for the work is supposed to be in storage, but cannot be located (see comments below)

The commissions for the artworks were selected by the Section of Fine Arts of the Public Buildings Administration – a continuation of the older Treasury Section of Fine Arts – in consultation with the building architects.  Apparently, a mural was planned for the far end of the lobby, but this never came to be.

Source notes

Annual report for Federal Works Agency, FY 1940, p. 83

Kathryn Flynn with Richard Polese, "The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration."  date?


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Location Info

2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20522

Coordinates: 38.8940, -77.0494

2 comments on “Truman Federal Building (State Department): Sculptures – Washington DC

  1. As senior curator of the new U.S. Diplomacy Center, I have been tasked to research the ultimate disposition of the plaster models of Jean de Marco’s bas relief, “Peaceful Pursuits of American Life.” The government terminated his contract and never carved his award-winning work on the War Department Building. No one in the State Department knows what happened to its model, which de Marco wrote was stored in the War Department Building, nor do the staff I contacted at GSA. I have obtained materials from the National Sculpture Society, National Archives, Archives of American Art, Syracuse University (very little here), and the State Department’s Bunche Library. Are there any key individuals or resources I have missed? Does anyone know what happened to the models? (One was much more finished than the other from the photos.) Any suggestions from experts in the area of New Deal art would be most welcome. Thank you, Priscilla Linn

  2. David Dziena

    I’m looking for the soldier sculptures (likely noted on this page) by Henri Kreis that were in the lobby of War Dept ( I’ve been in contact with the National Archives and GSA and while I did receive pictures of the statue(s), they do not know its current location. My uncle, Leonardo Nole, posed for this statue (or perhaps more than one) that was of a soldier holding a rifle. As stated above, it was placed in the lobby of the War Dept (now the State Dept). Does anyone know the location of this statue? Some have suggested it was moved when the State Dept took over the building. Thank you.

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