American Dioramas, Murals and Muralists


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Dioramas, Murals and Muralists." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the date of publication in Resource Library.

Following the listing of Resource Library articles and essays is the heading "TFAO references." Periodically TFAO conducts keyword searches from the Resource Library homepage relating to this topic. The count of pages within Resource Library citing the keywords indicates breadth of coverage in Resource Library for this topic. We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.

After "TFAO references" are links to online resources found outside the TFAO website. Online resources are gathered from TFAO catalogues. Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:


TFAO references:

As of 12/5/13 TFAO Digital Library contained 548 pages referencing the word "murals" and 176 pages referencing the word "muralist"


Also from the Web:

"The African-American murals of Los Angeles: putting art where people live - California," American Visions, Dec-Jan, 1994 by Robin J. Dunitz from

Albert Henry Krehbiel (1873-1945), American Impressionist Painter and Muralist: Murals Exhibit

Arkansas Post Office Murals

Art in the Atrium: Kerry James Marshall an exhibit held September 20, 2014 - February 26, 2009 - October 11, 2011 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Includes videos. Accessed April, 2015.

Chicano Mural Movement from the Texas State Historical Association

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is a comprehensive website devoted to "world's largest collection of outdoor public art" with sections featuring images of murals, how a mural is made, and more. Accessed 4/14

"Chatham Post Office Mural Depicts Southern Harvest" By Herman E. Melton, Special to the Star-Tribune, Chatham, Virginia, March 21, 2001.

Courthouse Murals, by Dianna Cammarota, from Boise City Revue [accessed 2/21/13]

Diorama background painters from American Museum of Natural History

Edgar Paxson Murals, an exhibit held June 13 - September 06, 2014 at the Missoula Art Museum. Includes audio and video. Accessed March, 2015.


For the People, an exhibit held July 12 - March 11, 2007 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Includes news release. From Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Accessed 11/17/14

George Beattie's Agriculture Murals, August 01, 2012 - January 20, 2013 from Georgia Museum of Art. Accessed 3/14

Grand Themes Need Great Art by James F. Cooper, From American Arts Quarterly: Volume 24, number 3 (about Graydon Parrish's commemorative mural The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001)

Choose a Google books search for A Guide to Chicago's Murals By Mary Lackritz Gray (right: front cover of A Guide to Chicago's Murals)

Los Angeles Murals by Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries

Lost Mural of Ellis Island, an exhibit held January 10 through March 23, 2014 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon. Accessed March, 2015.

"Made in Montana: Montana's Post Office Murals" from Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Autumn 2003 by Mentzer, Elizabeth (Link found expired as of 8/12/09 audit. Source site may contain this content via a revised URL)

Mexican American Exterior Murals by Daniel D. Arreola, Jstor excerpt

Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles is an encyclopedic site of murals, muralists and other information (Link found expired as of 8/12/09 audit. Source site may contain this content via a revised URL)

Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County diorama artists

Murals at the Beaufirt Post Office painted in 1940 by Simka Simkhovitch

Murals of Lane County OR, photo Essay by Herman Krieger

Murals of Los Angeles

New Deal Post Office Murals

Off The Wall: New Deal Post Office Murals by Patricia Raynor

Post Office Murals by Philip Parisi

Post Office New Deal Artwork in Missouri

Richard Haines (1906-1984), American Muralist, Modernist, Geometic Abstractionist, by Frank Goss

Single G Mural at the Cambridge City, Indiana Post Office

Texas Post office Murals

Windsor Library Mural by American muralist Allyn Cox (1896-1982

Yale Peabody Museum's dioramas


Online video:

Coit Tower- California's Gold (12004) is a 26-minute episode from Huell Howser's California's Gold television series.from January, ,2010. It is presented online without charge by the Chapman University Huell Howser Archive. The Archive page containing the episode says: "Coit Tower was built on top of Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco; Lillie bequeathed one-third of her estate to the City of San Francisco "to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved." Huell spends the day exploring all aspects of this San Francisco landmark, including the beautiful murals that adorn the lobby with the descendants of one of the original artists." Accessed January, 2015.

Georgia Museum of Art has posted numerous videos on the Web. Examples include GMA scholars' 2012 commentary concerning the exhibit George Beattie's Agriculture Murals in videos from four to eight minutes in length. Accessed May, 2015.

Lompoc Mural- California's Gold (1010)) is a 25-minute episode from Huell Howser's California's Gold television series.from January, 1999. It is presented online without charge by the Chapman University Huell Howser Archive. The Archive page containing the episode says: "In a fitting tribute to an obscure piece of California history, the town of Lompoc decided the flower flag was a wonderful image for their annual Mural-in-a-Day event as part of the Old Town Faire. The mural was painted by 15 talented artists and is truly beautiful. Huell met some folks from Bodger Seed and even someone who helped plant the "flag" in 1952." Accessed January, 2015.

Monterey Museum of Art presents as of June 2011 "Installing Gottardo Piazzoni's Final Murals" a 08:12 "Behind the Scenes" YouTube video introduced by the museum's director, E. Michael Whittington, in connection with the exhibition From Dawn to Dusk: Gottardo Piazzoni's Final Murals, on display April 27, 2011 - December 2012. As of 2013 the Museum had uploaded 16 videos concerning artist interviews, conservation work and installations. Accessed May, 2015.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles produced a video titled JR / "The Wrinkles of Los Angeles", available online through ArtBabble. According to ArtBabble, "This new film by theonepointeight shows street artist JR during the making of "The Wrinkles of Los Angeles" in Los Angeles in early 2012. This work 'links the memory of the elderly and the architecture of the cities marked by the scars of history, their economic development, and their socio-cultural changes. By meeting and photographing these people to paste their portraits on the walls, JR imagines the wrinkles on their faces as the marks of time, traces of life mixing with the history of the city.'" This is episode 2. Accessed June, 2015.

Ron DiCianni: Painting the Resurrection (04:24) features the artist discussing The Resurrection Mural, 12' x 40', oil on canvas, commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX. Video appeared on

Voice of America provides the video Mural Artists Help Beautify Washington, DC. Accessed May, 2015.

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. Museum of Science, Boston partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for Extreme Makeover: Mural Edition, (1 hour, 17 minutes) in which Gianfranco Pocobono and Richard Wolbers discuss what happens when the conservation choices are not clear cut and the world is watching. In 'One of the most significant restoration projects anywhere in America', science and art merged to conserve the John La Farge murals at Trinity Church Boston. Art and science have continually flirted over the centuries. Both investigate. Both involve theories and transforming information into something else. This lecture is a part of a Museum of Science series 'When Science Meets Art', which examines the mysterious symbiosis of science with art through the ingenuity of those shattering the boundaries between the two fields. [January 11, 2006] Accessed May, 2015.


TFAO also suggests these DVD or VHS videos:

Indiana Murals of Thomas Hart Benton: Visions of the Past, Lessons for the Present and Treasures for the Future, The. Presents the story of the murals painted by Thomas Hart Benton (depicting the history of the state of Indiana from the early Native Americans until the 1930s) from their creation for the World's Fair of 1933 to a major restoration in the 1990s. Includes commentary by art historians and museum curators. c2001. 41 min. Video/C 9353. Available from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Painting the Town: The Illusionistic Murals of Richard Haas Introduces the work of architectural muralist Richard Haas (b. 1936), whose mammoth murals using the "fool-the-eye" painting tradition have transformed contemporary cityscapes. The video explores the evolution of Haas' murals and uses time-lapse photography to demonstrate how they are made. Includes the Chisholm Trail mural in Fort Worth, Texas. 56-minute video. Description source: Amon Carter Museum Teacher Resource Center

Thomas Hart Benton's Missouri  28 minute / 1992 / FFH - "America's foremost folk muralist, the late Thomas Hart Benton, was at the apex of his career when he painted the Social History of Missouri mural which ambitiously depicts that state's progress from pioneer days to the Depression era. Benton's own narration from recorded interviews is used and supplemented by historian Bob Priddy."

Visiting...With Huell Howser #1505 - DIORAMA is a 28 minute DVD/VHS video in which "Huell visits the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to discover the history of its famous animal dioramas... A visit with Robert Reid who has been the resident artist for 20 years at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and the man responsible for creating all of the beautiful dioramas. From deserts to beaches, Robert captures the natural beauty with his paint brushes. Robert works closely with Tim Bovard who is the Taxidermist and the man responsible for making all those animals look so lifelike. Together, they make a unique team." Text courtesy of Huell Howser Productions.

Visiting...With Huell Howser #1005 - MOSAICS is a 28 minute 2002 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its Web site: "You've seen his work all across the Southland. Meet Denis O'Connor master mosaic tile artist, who has created some of the largest and most amazing mosaics in America." In this video, Denis O'Connor creates a large glass tile mosaic mural for St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island, in Newport Brach, CA. Huell follows the creation of the mural in O'Conner's two studios through to its installation in the chapel.

Visiting...With Huell Howser #738 - MURALS is a 28 minute 1999 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its Web site: "Huell visits a local elementary school to join a group of 5th graders on a field trip to some of LA's many murals. Along for the ride is the artists himself to discuss his art with the children. All in all it's a great LA day!"

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format


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