Murals

 

In addition to Louise’s mural work for the Treasury Department Section of Fine Arts Department during the 1930s and 40s, she continued to earn many private and public mural commissions in the Denver area, working in several mediums, including oil on canvas and true fresco. In the summers of 1923 and 1924, she studied fresco painting under Paul-Albert Baudoüin at the American Academy at Fontainebleu in France. It was quite rare for a woman to take on the arduous medium of fresco, but Louise loved it, enjoying the combination of artistic skill and physicality. When asked in a 1930 interview what her preferred painting attire was, she said, “overalls for comfort and for quick action”. Some of her public fresco commissions included Kent School for Girls (1933), Morey Junior High School (1934), the Robert W. Speer Memorial Hospital for Children (1940), and Weld County Hospital, Greeley, Colorado (1952). She also completed many private fresco commissions for people’s homes. Unfortunately, since fresco work is frequently part of the fabric of a building, so many of Louise’s murals have been lost either due to the structures being demolished, or to the ravages of weather and time.

Louise’s largest-scale work was known from the outset to be only temporary. Her oil on canvas Nativity graced the pediment of the Denver City and County Building only during the holiday season in 1935. Measuring 76 feet long and 13 feet at its apex, it was painted in sections. Louise and two assistants worked on the canvases in a basement of the city auditorium. The question is, where is it now? Since her 1940 Grand Junction Harvest mural was discovered in New York after being lost for several years, there is hope that Louise’s Nativity is out there somewhere. Perhaps in tucked away in a government basement or storage room. We live in hope that it’ll be found and restored, so keep your eyes open.

Louise was named civilian “Hero of the Week” by Governor Ralph Carr in 1942 for her contribution to the war program for painting three murals in Denver’s USO headquarters. Volunteering her time, she spent eight hours a day for three months working on the three 8’ x 12” panels. The theme of the murals was the United Nations in peacetime. These panels are also lost.

Louise’s last large-scale mural was executed in 1966 at St. Brendan’s Hospital in Devonshire Parish in Bermuda, where she was then living. That mural and the building, too, were demolished.