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Photo: Michael Mutmansky






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Classification: painting »
Theme: landscape »
Medium: Oil »
Support: on canvas »
Oil on canvas
76 x 168 in. (193.04 x 426.72 cm)
No known exhibitions.
Published References
Lembeck, David. "Rediscovering the People's Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania's Post Offices." Pennsylvania Heritage 34 (Summer 2008), p. 36, color ill.
Lembeck, David and Curtis Minor. "Pennsylvania's New Deal Post Office Murals." American Art Review 21:2 (2009), p. 132, color ill.
Jensen, Kirsten M. Folinsbee Considered. Hudson Hills Press, 2013, p. 96, color ill.

Edward B. Rowan, chief of the Section of Fine Arts, invited Folinsbee in September 1937 to paint the murals for the new Federal building in Farrell, Pennsylvania. Farrell, a steel boomtown, is located approximately 80 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, and fifteen miles northeast of Youngstown, Ohio. Folinsbee responded to Rowan's invitation stating that he was flattered, but, as Farrell was in the extreme northwestern part of the state, it would be difficult for him to undertake the project. Instead, he requested to be assigned to another project, and Rowan gave him the commission for a mural in Freeland, much closer to New Hope.

Located eighteen miles south of Wilkes Barre, and about 100 miles north of New Hope, Freeland was at that time a small coal mining town linked to other cities in the area by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It provided perfect subject matter for Folinsbee, whose sketches of prominent buildings survive as photographs maintained in the files for the Painting and Sculptures section in the National Archives.

Folinsbee completed his mural on 9 March 1938, and it was installed two months later. His description, as submitted to the Section of Fine Arts, reads: "This mural depicts a view of Freeland from Butler Terrace. Familiar buildings of the town may be seen at the left. In the central section are the mine and large breaker. In the right foreground ins the Drifton State Bank, a landmark of the vicinity." Folinsbee was so interested in the Freeland coal breaker that three years later he made it the subject of a large painting, Freeland Coal Breaker.

Record last updated April 22, 2015. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Jensen, Kirsten M. ""Freeland, 1938 (JFF.825)." In John F. Folinsbee Catalogue Raisonné. (accessed on September 28, 2023).