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(Click to Enlarge)
Watercolor on Paper
16 3/4 x 22 1/2 inches
Signed George Melville Smith lower left (very light)
Mounted on cardboard
Provenance: From Smith’s childhood friend’s estate

George Melville Smith, born 1879, a prominent IL artist, was part of the “New Deal”/ Works Progress Administration (WPA) cadre and his works have graced Chicago area institutions including a large mural in the suburb of Elmhurst, IL. This work is estimated to be made around the turn of the century. In 1936 George Melville Smith was commissioned to paint a mural on the east wall of the lobby, above the postmaster’s office. This was part of the WPA, a federal program during the Depression aimed at making art accessible to people and, at the same time, providing work for unemployed artists. Mr. Smith was paid $630 for the mural, titled There was Vision, which was hung October 15, 1937. The mural remains in the post office today. Most of the Post Office works of art were funded through commissions under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later known as The Section of Fine Arts) and not the WPA.