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"Spirit of Oshkosh," Art Deco Mural Study by Eugene Savage, 1937
This very rare and important study for "The Spirit of Oshkosh," a major mural in Wisconsin, was painted by Eugene Savage in 1937. Savage is best known for a spectacular set of murals illustrating the history and lore of Hawaii commissioned by Matson Shipping Line for the S. S. Lurline, executed in the 1940s but not installed until the 1950s. He was a prolific painter and muralist, executing works for the Texas Centennial Buildings in Dallas, other public buildings in Chicago and Indiana, and for Columbia and Yale Universities. He often favoured scenes, like this, which contrasted figures with stylized elements of the local landscape. In this case, he is showing Chief Oshkosh, a major figure in local Indian history, along with symbols of the local lumber industry, the Fox River, and forefathers looking into the starry sky. Note, too, Savage's bird's eye view of the Oshkosh city center, with boats plying the water beside.
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