1939 World’s Fair: WPA Murals and Other Art Commissions

With Sylvia Laudien-Meo

[Virtual tour] This World’s Fair, just at the brink of WWII, was dedicated to the theme of the “World of Tomorrow,” even though it was taking place as the Great Depression was winding down. Art works were commissioned for all the various pavilions, some of them by leading contemporary artists like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Salvador Dali even got to design his own “Dream of Venus” palace and Augusta Savage created her renowned “Harp” for the Contemporary Arts Pavilion. The WPA was still in full swing and also contributed powerful murals by Philip Guston and Ilya Bolotovsky. Fernand Leger, Arshile Gorky, Stuart Davis, and Hildreth Meiere. Many leading contemporary artists contributed to this exhibition, but sadly hardly any of the works survive. Art historian Sylvia Laudien-Meo leads this virtual tour.

For all tours, there are no refunds, cancellations, or exchanges unless we cancel a tour. Online registration closes one hour prior to the tour start time.

Registration is now closed.

Thursday, March 30
6:00 PM

Virtual Tour

Member: $15
Non-member: $25

Stuart Davis, Impression of the New York World's Fair (mural study, Communications Building, World's Fair, Flushing, New York), 1938. Photo: Smithsonian American Art Museum.