Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal ServiceŽ. All rights reserved.
Artist:Dan Rhodes (1911-1989)
Title: Air Mail
Dimensions:12 ft. x 4 ft.
Medium:oil on canvas
Location: Piggott Post Office located at 116 North Third Avenue, Piggott, Arkansas
About the Mural:Daniel Rhodes was commissioned for $700 to create a mural for Piggott, Arkansas, only after the original artist, Loyle Houser, did not perform in a timely manner. Rhodes had composed a mural centered around communication entitled Communication by Mail for the Marion, Iowa, post office in 1939. He resolved to employ a similar theme for the Piggott mural, lauding the significance of airmail for small, isolated communities in rural America.
The mural at the time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
The mural depicts a scene of extolling the ideas of communication. At the left, a local citizen hands a letter to the postmaster, who subsequently assists the pilots loading the mailbags onto the idling airplane in the center. The scene eulogizes modern technology and its ability to connect rural America to the rest of the world.
About the Artist: Daniel Rhodes was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on May 8, 1911. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League in New York, and the Stone City Art Colony with Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, and Edmond Giesbert. He worked extensively with the WPA, creating numerous murals and was active in Iowa art associations including the Iowa Art Salon. In the late 1950s, he was Professor of Ceramics at Alfred University School of Ceramics in upstate New York.
About the Location:Piggott, originally named Houston is one of two county seats in Clay County. It was incorporated in 1882. The town is named after James A. Piggott who successfully petitioned to get a post office constructed within the town. Ernest Hemingway, the famous 20th century novelist, spent considerable time in the town between the years of 1927 through 1940. It is believed that he composted A Farewell to Arms while staying in Piggott.