Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Houston Ship Channel as Art
Jerry Bywaters, Loading Oil, 1941

You don't find many articles about art in the business section of the Chronicle, but here is one I was glad to come across.

Houston has a poor track record when it comes to preserving its history, but six painting depicting the early history of the Houston Ship Channel may be back on public display in the next year.

The paintings were done under commission by Alexandre Hogue and Jerry Bywaters and designed to hang in the now-gone Houston Parcel Post building. Each artist was paid $1,300 for their works, which were done between 1939 and 1941.[...]

After much waiting, the General Services Administration -- which manages federal buildings and is the actual owner of the artwork -- has been cleared the funds to clean and restore the paintings and have them hung in a new jury assembly room here at the federal courthouse. They will be much more visible in the new setting and on view for hundreds of people every day. ("Restoring a bit of Houston's commercial history," Tom Fowler, The Houston Chronicle, April 7, 2010)
I've always loved the paintings and murals done for post offices and other public buildings during the Depression. (I guess that makes me a socialist!) I'll definitely have to check these out when they get put back up. For the time being, you can see them here.

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