- Benton, AR
- Site Type:
- Art Works, Murals
- New Deal Agencies:
- Arts Programs, Federal & Military Operations, Treasury Section of Fine Arts (TSFA), Treasury Department
- Julius Woeltz
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
- Site Survival:
Julius Woeltz painted this 12′ x 6′ oil on canvas mural, entitled “The Bauxite Mines,” in 1942 for the Treasury Section of Fine Arts. The mural was originally installed in the Benton post office and it now hangs in the Saline County Courthouse.
From the Benton Courier: “The mural’s early history is profiled in a publication, titled ‘Postmasters: Arkansas Post Office Art in the New Deal,’ by John Purifoy Gill.
“In the publication, Gill notes that Arkansas’ bauxite mines were a natural inspiration for Julius Woeltz, a University of Texas art professor, who received an invitation to paint the mural just five months before the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor.
This occurred at a time when the mines were swept into full-scale production for America’s only source of bauxite, used to produce aluminum for war planes and other weapons.
Woeltz visited Benton in July 1941. By August he had produced a sketch showing the operations of an open pit mine. In lieu of a pencil sketch, he submitted one in color because he contended it would more accurately explain the complicated background resulting from the removal of top layers of earth to reach the bauxite strata.
In Gill’s book, he points out that a Texas newspaper, dated Dec. 7, 1941, contains a photograph of Woeltz standing before a full-sized charcoal sketch of the mural that reflects miners drilling holes for dynamite and others loading ore cars.
The completed mural was later shipped to Benton Postmaster C.F. Elza, but Woeltz could not install it since he was unexpectedly commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.” (thecabin.net)
Flickr user Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Originally posted in the New Deal Art Registry: https://www.newdealartregistry.org/
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