Pillsbury Mills

by Erle Loran, 1934

About the art

Like many artists of the time, Minneapolis-born Erle Loran created commissions for the federal government during the Depression as part of the PWAP and WPA programs. This 1934 lithograph is a legacy from that time, when many local artists captured the changing scenes of the city. The Mighty Mississippi carries the foreground of this 19.5-by-21-inch piece, with the graceful curves of the Stone Arch Bridge taking center stage and the Pillsbury mill buildings anchoring the background. It’s an intriguing look at the history of the city and the early art days of Loran, who later became a leader of the formative “Berkeley School” group of painters, exploring much different styles and scenes.