Sandbagging the Bulkheads (mural study, Cairo, Illinois Post Office)

  • Wendell Jones, Sandbagging the Bulkheads (mural study, Cairo, Illinois Post Office), 1942, tempera, ink and pencil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the Internal Revenue Service through the General Services Administration , 1962.8.60

Exhibition Label

Consultation with local citizens regarding a mural's theme was sometimes insufficient to guarantee a mural's success. To prepare for his Cairo, Illinois commission, Wendell Jones talked with citizens who expressed pride that, despite periodic flooding of the Missouri River, the people of Cairo rallied and "not a drop of water ever got into the streets." In Sandbagging the Bulkheads Jones hoped to convey the epic heroism of citizens joining together, regardless of social class, to protect their city from impending disaster. On completion of the mural, however, citizens rebelled against a permanent reminder of the recurring threat. The Section succumbed to local objection and advised Jones not to install his painting. The mural has subsequently been lost.

Special Delivery: Murals for the New Deal Era, 1988

Title
Sandbagging the Bulkheads (mural study, Cairo, Illinois Post Office)
Artist
Date
1942
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
23 7/8 x 36 in. (60.8 x 91.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the Internal Revenue Service through the General Services Administration

Mediums
Mediums Description
tempera, ink and pencil on fiberboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • New Deal – Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture – Illinois
  • Figure group
  • Occupation – labor
  • Study – mural study
  • Landscape – Illinois – Cairo
  • Figure group – male
Object Number
1962.8.60
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI