Panoramic wallpaper mural by Jean Jacques Deltil (detail), Livingston Manor Central School, NY

Uploaded 18 Oct 2010
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© Eric K. Washington
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

The Livingston Manor Central School in Sullivan County, NY, was a product of 1930s Works Progress Administration development. The school houses a remarkable collection of panels printed by the notable French wallpaper firm, Zuber et Cie. The naïve romanticism of the tableaux, created in the 1830s by artist Jean Jacques Deltil, offers an idealized portrait of social democracy in the New World as interpreted by a French citizen who had never stepped away from his Old World shores. The works liberally portray a perfectly integrated world of black bourgeoisie amidst the white (as seen in this detail), and, in doing so, appear to reach for both Utopian ideals and political satire. One thing is for certain, there's nothing in the Martha Stewart collection to approach the spirit of these wall treatments.

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