: This photograph is a black-and-white image of a colorful mural titled "Romance of Steel, Old,” created in 1938 by artist Glenn Moore Shaw (1891-1981). The oil-on-canvas mural, which measures 7 feet high by 16-1/8 fee feet wide, is located in the Warren, Ohio, post office. This painting is paired with a second mural, “Romance of Steel, Modern,” which hangs directly below the first. Together the murals convey both the progression of steel manufacturing technology and the hard physical labor that produced the valuable alloy. Shaw depicts a group of eight steelworkers engaged in various tasks: grasping red-hot metal with long-handled tongs, using shovels to keep the furnace burning at the right temperature, and controlling the furnace door.
The mural was funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (the “Section”), one of the department’s three visual arts programs instituted during the Great Depression. Established in 1934, the Section commissioned artists to create paintings and sculpture that would decorate new federal buildings. The commissions were awarded competitively. Unlike other cultural programs of the New Deal, the Section’s primary goal was to procure art for public buildings, not to provide work relief.
Glenn Moore Shaw was born in Olmstead Falls, Ohio. After graduating high school he attended the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art). He married fellow art student Elsa Vick in 1917 and joined the faculty of his alma mater in 1922. He was head of the school’s mural department from 1937 to 1957, when he retired. During his career he painted more than 60 murals. He and Mrs. Shaw moved to Arizona in 1968. He died in Sun City in 1981.
In 1988 photographer Connie Girard took color and black-and-white images of this mural for an article in "Timeline" magazine (June/July 1989).
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL04498 Subjects
: Mural paintings (visual works); Post office buildings--Ohio; United States. Department of the Treasury. Section of Painting and Sculpture; Great Depression and the New Deal; Warren (Ohio) Places
: Warren (Ohio); Trumbull County (Ohio)