The Pawnee City, Nebraska Post Office Building
"The Auction" by Kenneth Evett (oil on canvas)
Murals were installed in the public lobby of the post offices located upon entry through the main door to the right or left directly above the postmaster's door in a space that generally measured 6 feet by 12 feet. By being placed in a prominent and essential community building, post office murals fulfilled the government goal of making art accessible to the American public
Kenneth Evett studied with Henry Varnum Poor and George Biddle. Besides "The Auction" at Pawnee City, Evett painted two others in Colorado and Kansas. He taught at Cornell from 1948 to 1979, returning to Nebraska in 1954 to paint three murals in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Lincoln.
Evett was not happy with the subject matter of the mural that he was asked to paint in Caldwell, Kansas: that of cowboys driving cattle. In fact he stated, "I don't want to be uncooperative, but must we do historical murals indefintely? The conception of cowboy, herding cattle is especially unexciting to me. Yet here is this postmaster with his heart set on cowboys herding cattle." Evett was encouraged by the federal government to follow the postmaster's suggestion. "We are very anxious whenever possible to give the public what they want," he was told. Evett was very pleased with the subject matter he was asked to deal with in the Nebraska mural: that of the small town farm auction. Evett's mural represents a variation to the agricultural theme -- "a complex and sophisticated composition depicting people at a farm auction."
A view of lobby of the Pawnee City post office (note the mural over the post master's office door.
A Close-up view of the mural - The Pawnee City mural was the last mural to be installed in Nebraska; therefore, Kenneth Evett had some trouble getting paid on time for his work.
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