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Civic Art      
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County Collection

Bob Hope Patriotic Hall

Preamble to the Constitution, Free Assembly, Free Ballot (Removed)

Artist:
Helen Lundeberg
Date:
1942
Region:
Downtown LA
District:
First
Location:
Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
1816 S Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Architect:
Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles
Department:
Military & Veterans Affairs

Click for larger photos

Project Description

In the early 1940s the U.S. Government’s Work Projects Administration, Federal Art Program (WPA/FAP) commissioned artist Helen Lundeberg to create a mural series for Los Angeles County’s Patriotic Hall. 

Originally hired to create nine murals for Patriotic Hall’s lobby, that number was reduced to three as WWII caused Congress to end the WPA and eliminate funding.  The original concept was to paint the Preamble to the Constitution along with eight freedoms the Constitution guaranteed.  The three murals ultimately completed were Preamble to the Constitution, which depicted several United States founding fathers clustered around the Constitution’s Preamble; Free Assembly, which illustrated a group gathering for discussion; and Free Ballot, which showed citizens lining up to vote.

Each mural was done in oil paint, measured approximately 12’ wide by 15’ high, and each took eleven days to complete. Helen Lundeberg hand-painted them onsite with the help of four assistants. 

The murals graced Patriotic Hall’s lobby for over thirty years until they were removed in the early 1970s and subsequently lost.  Despite extensive searches, so far no record of them has been found.  If you see works of art which may be the lost Lundeberg murals, please contact the Civic Art Program at 213-202-5858 or civicart@arts.lacounty.gov.

About the Artist

Helen Lundeberg was born in Chicago on June 24, 1908.  She moved with her family to Pasadena in 1912 and resided in the Los Angeles area for the rest of her life.  In 1930 she attended Pasadena’s Stickney School of Art where she was taught by artist Lorser Feitelson whom she later married.

In the early 1930s Lundeberg and Feitelson started what they called a “post-surrealist” style of painting.  Post-surrealism was a California art movement (which included artists Harold Lehman, Knud Merrild, and Grace Clements) that used surrealism’s dramatic and symbolic objects, but rejected surrealism’s emphasis on the feelings and fears hidden from conscious thought.  Post-surrealist artworks were created based on conscious contemplation and symbolism.

In addition to her studio work, Lundeberg created several public artworks for the WPA/FAP in the 30s and 40s that included murals at Patriotic Hall, the former Los Angeles County Hall of Records, Venice High School, Fullerton Police Station, Canoga Park High School, and the 240’ long History of Transportation mural for Centinela Park in Inglewood (restored in 2007).  Helen Lundeberg passed away in 1999 in Los Angeles.  Her memorial service was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.