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Mural Descriptions and Artist Biographies

Karl Free (1903-1947)
French Huguenots in Florida

The mural depicts a picturesque legend of the landing of the first Huguenots in Florida. 

Karl Free was born in Davenport, Iowa.  He studied at the Art Students League in New York under Joseph Pennell, Boardman Robinson, and Kenneth Hayes Miller.  Free worked as Associate Curator of Graphic Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art from its founding in 1930.  Today his works are in such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York City and Davenport (Iowa) Municipal Art Gallery.  He also completed a Section of Fine Arts commission for the U.S. Post Office in Princeton, New Jersey.

William Palmer (1906-1987)
Covered Wagons Attacked by Indians (1937)

The mural depicts an attack on a covered wagon that is carrying U.S. mail to western territories.

William Palmer was born in Des Moines, Iowa.  He studied at the Art Student’s League in New York, learning figure drawing under Boardman Robinson and like painting and mural composition under Kenneth Hayes Miller.  In 1927, Palmer traveled to France and studied fresco painting at the Ecole des Beaux Art de Fountainbleau.  He created works of art for U.S. post office buildings in Monticello, Iowa and Boston, as well as Queens General Hospital in New York.  From 1941 to 1974, Palmer served as the director of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York.

Ward Lockwood (1894-1963)
Consolidation of the West, 1937
Opening of the Southwest, 1937

Consolidation of the West depicts the establishment of the Postal Service by stage coach, Pony Express and railway. 

Opening of the Southwest depicts a time line of settlement in the southwestern United States beginning with Spanish soldiers, priest, trappers, families and eventually miners.

Ward Lockwood studied art at the University of Kansas before attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Academie Ranson in Paris.  He moved to Taos, New Mexico in the 1920s and became a member of the Taos Society of Artists.  He founded the University of Texas Art Department in the late 1930s – early 40s.  He also taught at the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Kansas and the University of Washington and developed the lithography program at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts center.  He was classified as a regionalist in the 1930s but as his style matured, it moved from academic interpretations to a more cubist approach.  Lockwood received Section commissions for the U.S. Postal Service Department Building in Washington, DC and the Post Offices in Wichita, Kansas, Lexington, Kentucky; Hamilton, Texas; and Edinburg, Texas.

Frank Albert Mechau, Jr. (1904-1946)
Dangers of the Mail, (1937)
Pony Express, (1937)

Pony Express depicts riders changing horses at a corral located in a remote Western landscape.  In the smaller panels along the mural’s lower edge, Mechau conveys his own stylistic interpretation of landscapes and events riders may have experienced.

Dangers of the Mail is a reconstruction of a fatal encounter between settlers and Indians.  The smaller panels along the lower edge of the mural depict additional and often violent encounters between settlers and Indians.

Frank Mechau was reared in Colorado. Denver University and the Art Institute of Chicago were way stations to an extended period of painting and study of art in Europe. Following his return to Colorado in 1932, he received three Guggenheim Fellowships, taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, and from 1940-43 was head of the art department at Columbia University. Eleven murals commissioned for federal buildings during the New Deal art program hang in Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C. His many other works are found in the Metropolitan Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and in other public and private collections.


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