Abstract Murals of the WPA

Central Nurses Residence, Metropolitan Hospital

Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island)

The Art Commission reviewed abstract murals by Richard Goldman and Rosalind Bengelsdorf for the Central Nurses Residence. While Richard Goldman’s mural for the fourth floor living room of the Central Nurses Residence sailed through the review process without changes, Rosalind Bengelsdorf faced difficulties with her proposal for the fifth floor living room. It was first disapproved in March 1938. A simplified proposal that included more curvilinear forms was resubmitted in June of the same year. It too was rejected. Finally in November, she offered yet another revision, much less abstract, with visual references to musical instruments and musical notes. It was approved in December 1938. Judging from the material in the Commission’s archives, this was the only abstract mural proposal that the Commission requested be altered. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the only submission from a female artist.

  • Abstract Murals of the WPA
  • Hospital for Chronic Diseases
  • WNYC Radio station
  • Rikers Island Penitentiary