The Famous Artist That Painted This Mural In Amarillo
If you've ever been to the J. Marvin Jones building downtown, you might have noticed the large mural near the ceiling that circles the entire office. Depicting a time period spanning from the 1500s to the early 1900s, the mural pays homage to the pioneers of the American Southwest. The wall depicts scenes such as Texas settlers fighting with natives in the area, or settlers in the 1800s working on their farms and ranches.
When looking closer at the mural you will find the signature "Julius Woeltz" which is a pleasant surprise to any enthusiasts of American art. Julius Woeltz was a prominent American painter, born in San Antonio where he would begin his education as a painter. Eventually moving to Paris, Chicago, and Mexico to continue his education, Woeltz became familiarized with depicting landscapes and integrating people into these setpieces, setting them in a way that would tell a story and convey deeper meanings beyond the surface.
In 1940 during the Great Depression and WW2, Woeltz would often find himself commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, which employed individuals to work on public projects throughout America. Working on many public art projects throughout America this would eventually lead him to Amarillo, where he was commissioned to work on a mural at the J. Marvin Jones Federal building. The mural he created depicted a different, more difficult time for settlers in Texas' past but in a way, this could also be seen as an inspiration for hope for those viewing this in the 1940s. Considering that citizens of Amarillo were faced with war, poverty, and failed crops during this time, a much-needed reminder that as a nation they would persevere just as their predecessors did could hopefully lift up their spirits.
It's weird in a way to think that 82 years ago Amarillo's resident's faced their own set of problems which could damper any positive outlook on the future. And even now we can do the same as our predecessors did in the 1940s, and look further back to give us confidence in our ability to move past present problems. This mural gives us a timeless reminder about this reality and hopefully can continue to do so for many more generations.
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