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WPA Buildings: Architecture and Art of the New Deal

Joseph Maresca

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In a fully illustrated, well-documented study, a historically underappreciated, uniquely American style gets its due. This survey explores the often overlooked social impact of imposing government buildings in American cities, large and small, that were funded by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. It was The New Deal's attempt to restore America's self-confidence during the Great Depression. Art Deco and modernism morphed into a style that broadcast the idea of the "New" and inspired civic confidence, as represented in structures such as the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC, and the Solomon Courthouse in Nashville. Eventually labeled WPA Moderne, this all-American streamlined Classicism became the public face of an era defined by progress and a sense of security. An extensive chapter on the murals within these structures features elaborate, government-commissioned paintings depicting epochal events in US history and American citizens laboring tirelessly in hopes of a better, brighter future.

Size: 8 1/2" x 11" | 195 b/w & color photos & drawings | 160 pp
ISBN13: 9780764352119

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Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Maresca earned an industrial design degree at Pratt Institute and a master’s degree in art education from New York University. He has experience teaching at the college level and has shown paintings in galleries and various museum exhibits across the country.