Edward Bruce


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Painter. Also a New Deal art administrator. Born in Dover Plains, north of New York City, Edward Bright Bruce graduated from Columbia University in 1901 and earned a law degree there three years later. He worked briefly as an attorney in New York before going into business in the Pacific. During the 1920s he studied painting with Maurice Sterne while living in Italy for six years. At the end of 1933 he was named to head the first of several important federal art projects, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), and the following year he was appointed to direct a longer-lived mural program administered by the Treasury Department. In this position he oversaw commissioning of murals for new public buildings throughout the country. His opposition to both modernism and academicism reflected his preference for the moderation seen in his own work, predominately landscapes and cityscapes related to the precisionist aesthetic. In these, he responded to particulars with simplified, stable forms, which lend his work dignity and subdued formal elegance. He died in Hollywood, Florida, only months after leaving Washington.

Subjects: Art.

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