Feb 04, 2021 - Sale 2557

Sale 2557 - Lot 220

Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 8,000


Tempera and color pencils on paper mounted on board. 613x613 mm; 24 1/4x24 1/4 inches. Inscribed "Detail right panel, Auditorium, Social Security Building. scale 1 = 1" in pencil, on the frameback. Circa 1937.

Provenance: Estate of the artist; private collection, New York.

Published Betsey Fahlman, "Louise Emerson Ronnebeck: A New Deal Artist of the American West," Woman's Art Journal, vol. 22, no. 2, p. 14.

The basis of Ronnebeck's proposal for the Social Security Building in Washington, D.C. (renamed the Wilbur J. Cohen Federal Building in 1988) was the contrast between big band entertainment and the suffering unmitigated by lack of government aid. The auditorium fresco mural commission was instead given to Philip Guston (1913-1980) by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts.

Ronnebeck's mural would have been approximately 7x8 feet overall. An image of the cartoon of the entire mural from the artist's archives is available on request.