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View of Poughkeepsie in 1840 (mural study, Poughkeepsie, New York Post Office)

ca. 1940 Georgina Klitgaard Born: Spuyten Duyvil, New York 1893 Died: 1976 oil on canvas 10 1/8 x 36 1/8 in. (25.6 x 91.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service 1965.18.55 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 36A


Luce Center Label

Georgina Klitgaard and two other artists won a government competition to design a mural for the Poughkeepsie, New York, post office. It was an important project and a lot was at stake. President Roosevelt, a native of Dutchess County, took great interest in this particular New Deal-sponsored mural project, and even helped choose the artists. He wanted the murals to convey the history and heritage of the area, and specified that Klitgaard’s view of the Hudson River’s west shore date to 1840, when the river traffic was at its height. Klitgaard took great care to comply with the president’s demands, visiting the Poughkeepsie library on several occasions to study maps and surveys from the mid-nineteenth century. This image is a final study, showing a view of the river dotted with ships carrying cargo from Albany to Manhattan past the busy waterfront town. The Vassar Brewing Company, warehouses, and hotels line the shore, highlighting the area’s community and industry. Roosevelt approved her design only after she had added College Hill in the distance, and Klitgaard received $2000 for the finished work. (Correspondence between Georgina Klitgaard and Edward Rowan, SAAM curatorial file)

Keywords

Architecture - boat - riverboat

History - United States

Landscape - New York - Poughkeepsie

Landscape - river - Hudson River

Study - mural study

Waterscape - boat

New Deal - Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture - New York State

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Georgina Klitgaard

Born: Spuyten Duyvil, New York 1893 Died: 1976

More works in the collection by
Georgina Klitgaard