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Mural Study for Children’s Hospital

Artist Peter Busa (American, 1914–1985)
Title Mural Study for Children’s Hospital
Date Ca. 1940
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions Stretcher: 24 1/2 × 83 3/4 in. (62.2 × 212.7 cm)
Framed: 27 3/16 × 87 × 2 1/4 in. (69.1 × 221 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line Museum purchase with funds from the Clarence W. and Mildred Long Art Purchase Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2015.133

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About this Work

The work of Peter Busa is characterized by vibrant colors, bold compositions, and richly varied brushwork and surface textures. During the Depression, Busa was employed by the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This painting is a study for a WPA mural that he was commissioned to paint for a children’s hospital in New York City. Unfortunately, the hospital ultimately rejected his proposed mural, fearing that its abstracted imagery of playing children would be disturbing to their young patients. Although he never painted the mural, Busa considered this dynamic study—a precursor to Abstract Expressionism—a finished painting in its own right.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Mural Study for Children’s Hospital | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.