Post Office Mural – Compton CA

City:
Compton, CA

Site Type:
Murals, Art Works

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

Completed:
1936

Artists:
Donald Totten, James Redmond

Quality of Information:
Good

Marked:
Unknown

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

In 1936, artist James Redmond painted a mural, “Early California,” for the post office in Compton, CA. Funded by the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), the mural depicts the mythic history of early California and wraps around all four walls of the lobby.

“One of the most beautiful sets of mural panels executed under government sponsorship during the depression is James Redmond’s panels for the Compton Post Office. Unfortunately, because of their location, they are also one of the least visited sites, which is a pity since they are so captivating in person. […] In his letter to TRAP administrators describing his sketches he stated: “This wall depicts scenes of the pastoral life in early California during the historical Spanish period. Such scenes as this might have occurred about the great ranchos and missions which flourished during this period.” […] So the artist has given us a view that “might have” occurred, based loosely on historical data as to the clothing and accessories, and basing his portraits on early paintings whose accuracy we cannot vouch for and most likely were idealized. […] Yet the pastoral images as created by Redmond are beautiful. While they shouldn’t be taken too seriously as historical fact, as pleasing works of art they are very successful. […] He holds the entire painting together by his use of greens of various hues. Redmond takes a complex arrangement and makes it look deceptively simple” (Clarke, 1998).

Redmond’s other New Deal projects in the region include murals at Phineas Banning High School and Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles, CA.

Source notes

Orville O. Clarke, Jr., "James Redmond's Murals for the Compton Post Office," Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles Newsletter 9, No. 2 (1998), accessed Mar. 30, 2023.

Additional photos by Jordan McAlister and Rich Puchalsky (accessed Mar. 30, 2023)

Site originally submitted by Shaina Potts on March 17, 2008.

Location Info


101 S Willowbrook Ave
Compton, CA 90220

Coordinates: 33.8956, -118.2246

At this Location:

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