Wynne 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: Ethel Magafan (1916-1993)

Title: Cotton Pickers

Date: 1939

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

Medium: oil on canvas

Location: Wynne Post Office, located at 402 Merriman Avenue East, Wynne, Arkansas

 

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

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

About the Mural: Ethel Magafan was commissioned for $560 to create a mural for Wynne, Arkansas as a result of an Honorable Mention in a Section of Fine Arts competition. She visited town and composed numerous sketches of the people as they worked in the cotton fields. Magafan installed the mural with the help of her twin sister Jenne. The color sketch for the composition was exhibited at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the black and white cartoon was displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in 1988.

Set against the Delta landscape in the left background is a large cotton field with pickers. The colored man and woman in the left foreground carry their loaded bags to a wagon where a group of workers are having their bags weighed and emptied.

 

About the Artist: Ethel Magafan was born in Chicago in 1916, and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She studied with muralist Frank Mechau, Peppino Mangravite and Boardman Robinson at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. She created murals for the National Home for Jewish Children in Denver, two Federal office buildings in Washington, D.C, and in collaboration with her twin sister, artist Jenne Magafan (1916-1993), she painted a mural for the Senate Chamber in Washington, D.C. She executed several post office murals for the Section of Fine Arts in the 1930s and 40s that can be found in Auburn, Nebraska; Madill, Oklahoma; Denver, Colorado; as well as the one in Wynne, Arkansas. Magafan was represented at the New York World’s Fair and her work is also represented in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum. Her last mural, Grant in the Wilderness, is located in the Chancellorsville Visitors Center at the Fredericksburg National Military Park in Virginia, and was installed in 1979.

About the Location: Wynne, in Cross County, was incorporated in 1888 and became the county seat in 1889. It was named Map of locations of post office murals in Arkansasfor J. W. Wynne, a businessman who lived in the nearby town of Forest City.