Landau CR 142. Initialed and dated in pencil lower right: “L.K. ‘41”. Inscribed verso: “Gouache 1941 #3”. With exhibition labels verso from Marlborough Gallery, NY, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. In fine condition aside from light matburn, areas of surface abrasion in the margins (not extending to the image), and pinholes at the sheet corners. Sheet measures 18 x 14 inches.
This small gouache is a study for a mural to decorate Studio A at Radio Station WNYC, on the twenty-fifth floor of the Municipal Office Building in lower Manhattan. The WNYC project had been initiated in 1938 under the direction of Burgoyne Diller, head of the Mural Division of the WPA/FAP in New York. An abstract artist himself, Diller campaigned extensively for the acceptance of WPA-sponsored murals in the modernist style. While Krasner’s mural plan was accepted for WPA production, the project never came to fruition. In March 1942 the WPA/FAP became the Graphic Section of the War Services Program, whose primary concern was with providing propaganda posters, camouflage, etc. for World War II. Government funds were no longer available for abstract art.