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The Armistice Letter (Mural Study, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania Post Office)

ca. 1940-1941 Eugene Higgins Born: Kansas City, Missouri 1874 Died: New York, New York 1958 oil on canvas 18 1/4 x 32 1/4 in. (46.5 x 81.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service 1965.18.101 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 35B


Luce Center Label

Eugene Higgins worked for the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, and in this mural study for the Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, post office, he showed a farm family taking a break from their chores to read the day’s mail. The title tells us that the letter brings news of the end of World War I. Painted just before the United States entered the Second World War, Higgins’s mural anticipated the grim reality ahead. Bolts of lightning, rearing horses, and roiling clouds represent the looming conflict, while the dove of peace promises a brighter future after the storm has passed.

Keywords

Figure group - family

History - United States - World War II

Landscape - Pennsylvania - Beaver Falls

Occupation - farm - sowing

Recreation - leisure - letter reading and writing

Study - mural study

New Deal - Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture - Pennsylvania

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Eugene Higgins

Born: Kansas City, Missouri 1874 Died: New York, New York 1958

More works in the collection by
Eugene Higgins