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Courthouse grand staircase, 436 Grant Street, through security checkpoint

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Keywords

paint on canvas, Federal Works Progress Administration, Allegheny County, Courthouse

Artwork Type

Mural, Permanent



Allegheny Courthouse Murals: Justice, Peace, Industry, The Battle of Grant's Hill & Fort Duquesne

1934


Vincent Nesbert



Photo

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Commissioning Entity Federal Works Progress Administration's Public Works of Art Project
ADA Services The murals are accessed by stairs after passing through security.

After receiving a commission from the Federal Works Progress Administration’s Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), Nesbert created these murals for the building’s grand staircase. When funding fell through, he decided to complete the mural for the love of the work, but was eventually paid by the County to complete the series.

From the beginning, the murals were a source of newspaper gossip. During the painting of Justice,the artist was accused of plagiarism, which he denied. In Industry, a bare-chested worker was a source of controversy, not due to his nudity, but because it was asserted that steelworkers always wear shirts while working. At one time, the murals even made the news because the artist had run out of canvas. 

Vincent Nesbert (1898-1976) was a painter who also served as the dean for the Art Institute in Pittsburgh. Nesbert won a Pulitzer Prize in 1922 and exhibited in the International Art Exhibit during the same year. He was best known for the murals he painted at the Allgheny Courthouse and told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the "work is art for art's sake." Nesbert only received $300 for the design from the Federal Works Progress Administration's program and the county paid for his materials.