Contreras, Belisario R., 1916-

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Between 1933 and 1942 the Roosevelt administration developed a number of different federal art programs. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), initiated by Edward Bruce, was administered by the Treasury Department and financed by relief funds from the Civil Works Administration (CWA). PWAP was an emergency measure that functioned only from December 1933 to January 1934. A second program, the Section of Painting and Sculpture, also established by Bruce within the Treasury Department, operated from October 1934 to June 1943. A third measure, the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), organized by Bruce and funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), operated from July 1935 to June 1938. The fourth measure, the WPA Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP), established by administrator Harry L. Hopkins and directed by Holger Cahill, continued the federal program from September 1935 through May 1943.

From the guide to the Belisario Contreras Photograph Collection, 1930-1942, (University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research)

Artist, art historian; Albuquerque, New York; d. 1990.

From the description of Belisario Contreras papers, 1958-1984. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122454071

Author.

From the description of Papers on New Deal art, 1860-1976; (bulk 1933-1942). (University of New Mexico-Main Campus). WorldCat record id: 31088065

During the Depression, the Roosevelt administration organized art programs to create jobs for unemployed and destitute artists. It was the first time that the federal government supported the arts on a national scale.

The New Deal art programs were instituted primarily by Edward Bruce - lawyer, business man, and professional painter - and Holger Cahill - a well known writer, museum curator, and art expert. Bruce's and Cahill's task was to articulate the artist's goals to the administration and to guide the specific direction of the federal art programs.

New Deal art was derived from three basic cultural sources: the Depression era, the attempt to develop a uniquely U.S. American art style, and the Mexican mural movement. In the 1920's Mexican muralists depicted on public walls the social ideas of the Mexican revolution. Bruce and Cahill took over this idea and developed programs which employed artists to paint murals in public buildings such as post offices, public libraries, public schools, and federal government buildings. These murals focus on important historical events and contemporary scenes of American life. Cahill and Bruce also developed other programs to support easel painting, sculpture and graphic arts.

Between 1933 and 1942 the Roosevelt administration developed a number of different federal art programs. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), initiated by Edward Bruce, was administered by the Treasury department and financed by relief funds from the Civil Works Administration (CWA). PWAP was an emergency measure that functioned only from December 1933 to January 1934. A second program, the Section of Painting and Sculpture, also established by Bruce within the Treasury Department, operated from October 1934 to June 1943. A third measure, the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), organized by Bruce and funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), operated from July 1935 to June 1938. The fourth measure, the WPA Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP), established by administrator Harry L. Hopkins and directed by Holger Cahill, continued the federal program from September 1935 through May 1943.

From the guide to the Belisario R. Contreras Papers on New Deal Art, 1860-1976 (bulk 1933-1942), (University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Contreras, Belisario R., 1916-. Belisario Contreras papers, 1958-1984. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Contreras, Belisario R., 1916-. Papers on New Deal art, 1860-1976; (bulk 1933-1942). University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Belisario Contreras Photograph Collection, 1930-1942 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
creatorOf Belisario R. Contreras Papers on New Deal Art, 1860-1976 (bulk 1933-1942) University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
creatorOf Contreras, Bel. [Bel Contreras] : artist file John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library, Ringling Museum Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Agee, William C. person
associatedWith Barela, Patrocipio, 1908-1964 person
associatedWith Bel Contreras, person
associatedWith Biddle, George, 1885- person
associatedWith Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943. person
associatedWith Bruce, Margaret T. person
associatedWith Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960. person
associatedWith Dows, Olin, 1904-1981. person
associatedWith Ealand, Maria. person
associatedWith Federal Art Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Gernand, John, 1913-1990. person
associatedWith Hopkins, Harry Lloyd, 1890-1946 person
associatedWith Index of Amerian Design corporateBody
associatedWith Jacobowitz, Arlene. person
associatedWith Jewett, Masha Zakheim, 1931- person
associatedWith Kainen, Jacob. person
associatedWith Kallen, Horace Meyer, 1882-1974. person
associatedWith Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971. person
associatedWith La More, Chet Harmon, 1908-1980. person
associatedWith Martínez, Julián person
associatedWith Meem, John Gaw, 1894- person
associatedWith Miller, Dorothy Canning, 1904-2003. person
associatedWith Nussbaum, Jesse L. (Jesse Logan) person
associatedWith Phelps, Merwin C. person
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project corporateBody
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Rein, Selma. person
associatedWith Scott, David W., 1916- person
associatedWith The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Work Projects Administration corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Works Progress Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960. person
associatedWith Weston, Harold, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Zakheim, Bernard Baruch, 1898-1985. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
Artists--United States
Social realism
Arts--United States
Artists--United States--Interviews
Mural painting and decoration--20th century
Federal aid to the arts
Art, American
Art--New Mexico
Federal aid to the arts--United States
Art and state--United States
Art and state
Mural painting and decoration--United States
Public art
Architecture--New Mexico
Artists--Interviews
New Deal, 1933-1939
Art--Study and teaching--United States
Mural painting and decoration--20th century--United States
Politicians--United States
Hispanic American artists
Occupation
Collector
Function

Person

Birth 1916

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