Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal ServiceŽ. All rights reserved.
Artist:John Tazewell Robertson (1905-1989)
Dimensions: 11 ft. 11 in. x 5 ft. 2 in.
Medium: oil on canvas
Location:Nashville Post Office located at 220 North Main Street, Nashville, Arkansas
About the Mural:John Robertson was commissioned for $660 to create a mural for Nashville, Arkansas as a result of competent designs submitted in the Interior Department Competition. The figure kneeling on the left of the composition is a portrait of Mr. Bert Johnson, who is considered by Nashville residents to be the father of the peach industry in Arkansas. Nashville's mural is the only Arkansas mural that included a portrait of an Arkansas native. Robertson did not visit Nashville to collect primary material, but instead sketched an orchard near Bernardsville, New Jersey.
The mural at the time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C
The mural depicts the three most significant steps of peach cultivation. On the left, two figures are planting the beginning of an orchard. The kneeling figure is a portrait of Bert Johnson, the father of the Arkansas peach industry. In the center, two figures are spraying the dormant peach trees, the most dramatic and symbolic of the intermediary steps involved in peach cultivation. On the right are two pickers, harvesting the fruit. In the extreme foreground are field boxes of peaches ready to be brought to market.
About the Artist:John T. Robertson was born in New York City, New York in 1905. He studied at the Art Students League of New York under Gifford Beal, William McNuity, Richard Lahey, Jean Charlot, and Harry Wickey. He was the treasurer of the Art Students League of New York Club and received the Tiffany Foundation Fellowship in 1933. Robertson worked in Iowa City, Iowa, with Grant Wood on murals for the library at Ames Agricultural College. He also worked with Reginald Marsh to compose murals for the New York Custom House.
About the Location:Nashville, in Howard County, was established as the county seat in 1884 when the seat moved from Center Point. Howard County, created in 1873, was named for James Howard, a state representative. Nashville was once home to the largest ice factory in the United States.