Austin Mecklem

born Colfax, WA 1894-died Kingston, NY 1951
Media - portrait_image_114899.jpg - 90495
Austin Mecklem and Marianne Appel on their wedding day, 1937. Unidentified photographer, from Austin Merrill Mecklem and Marianne Greer Appel papers, courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Jnstitution.
Also known as
  • Austin M. Mecklem
  • Austin Merrill Mecklem
Colfax, Washington, United States
Kingston, New York, United States
Active in
  • Woodstock, New York, United States

Austin Mecklem or “Meck” worked for two years at a gold mine in Juneau, Alaska, to save money for art school. He studied at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts and the Art Students League in New York, and was one of the first artists to settle in the village of Woodstock, New York. He built a cabin and stayed there for many years, painting and teaching summer classes. During the Depression, Mecklem worked for the Federal Art Project, creating canvases and murals that showed industrial landscapes. (Marianne Appel and Austin Mecklem, The Woodstock Artists Association, Exhibition Catalogue, 2000)

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.