Magnolia Post Office

Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved.

Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved.

 

Artist: Joe Jones (1909-1963)

Title: Threshing

Date: 1938

Dimensions: 4 ft. 6 in. x 12 ft.

Medium: oil on canvas

Location: Magnolia Public Library, located at 220 East Main, Magnolia, Arkansas

 

Mural at time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Mural at time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

About the Mural: Joe Jones was commissioned for $560 to create a mural for Magnolia, Arkansas as a result of an Honorable Mention in an earlier Section of Fine Arts Competition. The composition is a mid-western scene of wheat threshing, The Section rejected Jones initial image of Negroes enjoying watermelon under a tree, basically stating that they wanted him to compose a wheat image, a subject that Jones was famous for depicting.

The colorful scene depicts farmers threshing wheat. On the left, a horse drawn cart carries bundles of wheat away to be sold. In the center men pitch the the golden threads into the threshing machine. On the right, workers bundle the threshed wheat into bags which will be carted away.

About the Artist: Joe Jones was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1909. He graduated from Benton Grade School in St. Louis, Missouri, at fourteen and joined the Painter’s Union, painting houses by day and canvases by night. Jones was basically a self-taught artist. He attended night classes that taught the fundamentals of decorating, conversed with other would-be artists, and at the age of nineteen, converted a small garage into his private studio space. In 1931, Jones won a $100 Baldwin Portrait Prize in the annual Artists. Guild Competition and in 1937 won a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of art, and the Worcester Art Museum. Jones’s complete other murals for the Section in post offices in Anthony and Seneca, Kansas, and in Charleston and Dexter, Missouri.

About the Location: Magnolia, the seat of Columbia County, was incorporated in 1855. It was formed from pieces of land in Map of locations of post office murals in ArkansasHempstead, Lafayette, Ouachita, and Union counties. Since 1938, the town’s principal industry has been oil. However, the community also produces metal, chemicals, and lumber. Today, the community hosts an Annual Magnolia Blossom Festival, Steak Cook-Off, and Sidewalk Art Show every May.