Post Office Mural – Claremont CA

City:
Claremont, CA

Site Type:
Murals, Art Works

New Deal Agencies:
Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), Arts Programs

Completed:
1937

Artists:
George Biddle, Milford Zornes

Quality of Information:
Good

Marked:
Yes

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

In 1937, Milford Zornes (assisted by George Biddle) painted an enormous oil-on-canvas mural, “California Landscape,” in the Claremont, CA, post office. The mural was funded by the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP).

The 58′ x 3’4″ mural wraps around all four walls of the lobby. “There are clusters of trees, people walking along a road, a farmer leading two plough horses, and a couple in Mexican finery dancing. Bridges Auditorium, meant to represent Pomona College and the importance of higher education, is also portrayed” (Dunitz, p. 343).

Zornes was an Oklahoma-born watercolorist for whom Western landscapes were a favorite subject. He also did a New Deal mural for the post office in El Campo, Texas.

Source notes

Robin J. Dunitz, Street Gallery: Guide to 1000 Los Angeles Murals (RJD Enterprises, 1998).

More photos by Jordan McAlister (accessed Mar. 30, 2023)

Site originally submitted by Shaina Potts on February 14, 2010.
Additional contributions by Charles Swaney & Natalie McDonald.

Location Info


140 N Harvard Ave
Claremont, CA 91711

Coordinates: 34.0955, -117.7160

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2 comments on “Post Office Mural – Claremont CA

  1. Comment submitted by Maria (Zornes) and Hal Baker:

    All of Milford’s papers have been donated to Pomona college in Claremont, Calif. Included in those papers are 4-5 letters from George Biddle and others who worked with Milford when he did the New Deal mural in the Claremont (Calif.) Post Office. There was some disagreement about what they wanted and what Milford wanted to do. Eventually he did what he proposed. They wanted a mural on a large wall of the Post Office and Milford wanted to do a mural around the top of the room. As I recall they were not that happy with the design he submitted, either. Eventually all his papers will be archived at Pomona College and available to the public. These letters will be included.

  2. The mural still stands in the Claremont Post office today (almost 80 years later) and is considered a local treasure despite its dated ‘New Deal’ look. Like its creator, Milford Zornes, the painting is relatively unassuming but a perfect and timeless complement to the public space which it decorates. I love the muted colors and the overall tone of the frieze. To me it is what public art ought to be—relevant to the community, telling a story, pleasing to look at and well integrated into the site. I’m glad Zornes won the battle with the bureaucrats to make it a continuous graphic–signifying the never-ending and always evolving story of Claremont.

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Contribute to this Site

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2 comments on “Post Office Mural – Claremont CA

  1. Comment submitted by Maria (Zornes) and Hal Baker:

    All of Milford’s papers have been donated to Pomona college in Claremont, Calif. Included in those papers are 4-5 letters from George Biddle and others who worked with Milford when he did the New Deal mural in the Claremont (Calif.) Post Office. There was some disagreement about what they wanted and what Milford wanted to do. Eventually he did what he proposed. They wanted a mural on a large wall of the Post Office and Milford wanted to do a mural around the top of the room. As I recall they were not that happy with the design he submitted, either. Eventually all his papers will be archived at Pomona College and available to the public. These letters will be included.

  2. The mural still stands in the Claremont Post office today (almost 80 years later) and is considered a local treasure despite its dated ‘New Deal’ look. Like its creator, Milford Zornes, the painting is relatively unassuming but a perfect and timeless complement to the public space which it decorates. I love the muted colors and the overall tone of the frieze. To me it is what public art ought to be—relevant to the community, telling a story, pleasing to look at and well integrated into the site. I’m glad Zornes won the battle with the bureaucrats to make it a continuous graphic–signifying the never-ending and always evolving story of Claremont.

Join the Conversation

Please note:

  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click the button above.

Your email address will not be published, shared, or sold.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.