Kingsbridge Heights Bronx - Photo #64 - DeWitt Clinton High School Murals


The third-floor hallway at DeWitt Clinton High School that contains Alfred Floegel's murals The History of the World (walls) and Constellations (ceiling). This and all the following mural photos were taken on August 5, 2015.

Alfred Floegel was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1894 and went to sea in 1912, working on the ship as a painter.[5] He arrived in New York in 1914 and stayed on, with the aim to become an artist. His son Alfred Jr. notes, “In the early years he whitewashed apartments when people moved out. Realize, he came to this country with no money, did not know anyone, could not speak the language. He was being sued by his landlord for back rent when he got this letter“[4]... Referring to notification of a fellowship for him from the American Academy in Rome[5].

Afterwards he met some success as an artist in the USA and Europe, but fell again onto hard times in the Great Depression. Fortunately, FDR's New Deal launched the Federal Art Project (under the Works Progress Administration, WPA) in 1935 because (as WPA head Harry Hopkins said) “artists have to eat too” and, according to Roosevelt's way of thinking, it was better to pay people to do useful work than to put them on “home relief” (i.e. welfare). And in those days, art (painting, sculpture, music, drama, even puppetry) were considered useful and thousands of artists were employed by the WPA, including Alfred Floegel[1]. Floegel worked on the Clinton High School murals from 1934 to 1940