Pioneer Group at the Red Rock Line--1845 (mural study, Knoxville, Iowa Post Office)

  • Marvin Beerbohm, Pioneer Group at the Red Rock Line--1845 (mural study, Knoxville, Iowa Post Office), 1940, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the Internal Revenue Service through the General Services Administration , 1962.8.48

Luce Center Label

The Works Progress Administration invited Marvin Beerbohm to submit a sketch for the Knoxville, Iowa, post office mural. He discussed the commission with the town’s citizens and chose an episode from the community’s early history. On the night of October 10, 1845, the federal government forced the Sac and Fox Indians from their land east of the Red Rock Line. White settlers waited on the border and, at the signal, rushed forward to claim property. Beerbohm took note of the doorway that would intrude into the lower part of his mural, and composed his figures in a semicircle above. He captured the intensity of the event with a chaotic scene of settlers bearing lanterns, torches, and stakes beneath a swirling nighttime sky. After he had installed the mural, a local paper praised him for capturing the “Shouts of excited drivers mingled with the yells of men on horseback carrying torches, flaring in the wind” and “Small children, clinging to their mothers . . . in terror.” (Untitled newspaper clipping, SAAM curatorial file)

Title
Pioneer Group at the Red Rock Line--1845 (mural study, Knoxville, Iowa Post Office)
Artist
Date
1940
On View
Dimensions
17 x 32 1/2 in. (43.2 x 82.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the Internal Revenue Service through the General Services Administration

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • Landscape – Iowa – Knoxville
  • Study – mural study
  • New Deal – Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture – Iowa
  • Figure group
Object Number
1962.8.48
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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