U.S. Courthouse Mural – El Paso TX

Project type: Art Works, Murals
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Artist Tom Lea was commissioned in 1938 to paint the “Pass of the North” mural for the Federal Courthouse in El Paso. The Treasury Section of Fine Arts funded the project.

Artist Milford Zornes spoke about Tom Lea’s art at the El Paso Courthouse: “Both are very fine and an inspiration to me. The Tom Lea especially pleased me. It was in beautiful color harmony with the room. So beautiful and skillfully painted. To me the idea of going through a country, feeling its characteristic personality, then being able to see in the vicinity the work of a painter who has interpreted it is a thrilling thing and speaks highly for the work of government that has the possibilities that can and will grow out of this activity seem to promise a richness that will have far reaching effect.” These notes were made available to Living New Deal the generosity of the Milford Zornes Family Trust. According to Hal Baker, curator of Milford Zornes’ personal writings, “Milford often talked about how his work for the WPA gave him the ability to be an artist during the Depression and it left a life-long impression of how the government can effectively support the arts. He was grateful for the rest of his long life.”

According to the artist, “The job I worked on the hardest, and learned the most while doing, and took the most pleasure in doing, was the ‘Pass of the North’ mural for the federal courthouse in El Paso, commissioned after submitting a design and winning another Section of Fine Arts competition.” (Tom Lea Institute)

Source notes

Milford Zoenes' personal notes.


Tom Lea Institute: https://tomlea.com/tom-lea-trail/

El Paso Museum of History: http://www.digie.org/media/14329

Project originally submitted by Hal Baker - Milford Zornes Family Trust on April 7, 2019.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

U.S. Courthouse
El Paso , TX

Coordinates: 31.7592623, -106.4841682

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