Post Office Murals

When George was twenty-five years old, he won three commissions from the US Department of Treasury, Section of Fine Arts to paint murals in local post office buildings. At the time, the SFA was hosting competitions across the country to contract works for federal buildings. George was very influenced by the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, whose politically charged frescos addressed issues such as labor rights and community unrest. George chose scenes for his murals that reflected on the lived realities of the Great Depression. He completed the works in his Hollywood Boulevard gallery space and studio that he shared with artist Fletcher Martin. Once complete, the canvas covered boards were then installed in their respective buildings.

Maywood, 1939

The first mural was commissioned for the post office in Maywood in 1939. Titled “Industry,” the mural symbolized the hard-working community members. The central panel depicted a group of men working with pavement breakers, in the left panel showed carpenters and on the right were plasterers. The mural was later destroyed when the post office building was demolished.

Culver City, 1941

The 1941 Culver City mural was inspired by George’s experiences with MGM. The scene depicts a film stage, as is evident by the framing that is visible behind the house façade and the support that attaches the tree limb to the base in the foreground. George initially wanted to paint the behind-the-scenes workers who create movies, such as script researchers, machine shop mechanics, and the projection crew. After pushback from MGM, George created this design which alludes to the various work that goes into creating movies.

Calexico, 1941

George’s last mural was completed for the Calexico office in 1941. This design features field laborers at work planting and harvesting the earth. This mural, as well as the Culver City murals, can still be viewed at the post offices today.

Preliminary sketches for the Calexico post office mural.

Invoice for Calexico mural.

Artist

George Samerjan

Contact John Samerjan

johnsamerjan@yahoo.com