During the Depression-era of the 1930s and 40s, thousands of artists throughout the United States were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project to design public murals for post offices, government buildings, and outdoor spaces. Southern California-based Helen Lundeberg was commissioned in 1940 to design a mural illustrating the history of the transportation era. Lundeberg’s highly-detailed and superbly-crafted study for the mural was eventually realized in full-scale near Centinela Park in Inglewood, California. The imagery includes references to Native American ways of life, Spanish-era exploration, the contributions of Asian laborers to railroad construction, the introduction of the automobile, and the popularization of public transportation.
The works in this exhibition were recently added to the Nevada Museum of Art’s E.L. Wiegand Collection, whose thematic focus is on the work ethic in American art.