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Autumn in Iowa (mural study, Bloomfield, Iowa Post Office)

ca. 1940 John O. Robert Sharp oil on linen 12 x 36 in. (30.5 x 91.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service 1965.18.3 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 35B

Luce Center Label

Cool blues and greens dominate this scene and evoke the crisp, fresh air of an autumn day in Iowa. John Sharp’s mural study celebrated the old-fashioned community spirit of harvest time, with women dressed in homespun picking apples, a spirited young boy enjoying a bite atop his perch, and rugged men bundling wheat from the fields. A red barn lies at the center of the composition to emphasize that farming was the focus of life in Bloomfield. Visitors to the post office would have found comfort in this nostalgic view of earlier days, when crops were abundant. At the end of the Great Depression and the worst years of the dust bowl, this image promised the citizens of Bloomfield that nature runs in cycles, and that better crops and greater prosperity lay ahead.


Figure group

Landscape - farm

Landscape - Iowa

Landscape - season - autumn

Occupation - farm - harvesting

Study - mural study

New Deal - Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture - Iowa


paint - oil

fabric - linen