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James Fitzgerald, American, (1899–1971)

Untitled (study for WPA Cannery Row mural,'Net Menders')

1937
Work on paper
watercolor on paper
20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm)
Gift of Edgar and Anne Hubert
Accession Number: 1982.123

© The James Fitzgerald Legacy



Like many artists during the 1930's, James Fitzgerald produced work for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Arts Program which supported artists through assigning them to public projects, primarily murals. This watercolor was made as a preparatory study for a Monterey mural titled Net Menders. It shows the fishermen of Cannery Row mending their nets, a never-ending task. In the background is a boxcar which would have arrived daily to transport the canned sardines to distant markets; and Cannery Row's trademark smoke stacks, still standing today, are on the site of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fittingly, Fitzgerald's mural has hung for years in the dining area of the Aquarium.

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