Southwest, Mural, 1956, Oil on canvas, 5½ x 20 feet El Paso Public Library, El Paso, Texas
Print measures 17″ x 36″, which includes 4″ of white border around image area.
Limited edition of 365 prints; 353 in stock
El Paso citizens passed a bond issue to build a new public library and Tom Lea offered to paint a mural in it as a gift to his town. A space was planned in the building's design opposite the main entrance in a room dedicated to the library's reference material relating to Paso del Norte and the Southwest. Tom's wife, Sarah, helped him with the mural, signing her name in the bottom right corner by his. The painting began in April of 1956 and was finished in May, taking shape as a “luminous window looking out upon its birthland. It spoke of space, sun, cloud, rain, wind, mountain, mesa, rock, sand, soil, and of living growth nurtured by them. The only human habitant of this elemental landscape was the viewer of the mural; the landscape's horizon was at the viewer's eye level when standing on the library's floor. It was the earth, inhabited only by the viewer's mind.”
– Tom Lea, A Picture Gallery, Boston: Little Brown and Company, p. 157-159.