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David McCosh (1903 – 1980)

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

20. Entrance to Canal Project, 1934

Watercolor on paper, 14 ½ x 22 ¾ inches (unframed sheet), 21 ¼ x 29 ¼ inches (framed), signed D. McCosh and dated lower right



Iowa Speaks, a traveling exhibition organized by Edward Beatty Rowan under the auspices of The American Federation of Arts, 1934-1935, including (without limitation) at the Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania (November, 1934), Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Fall, 1934/Winter, 1935), Bozeman Chapter of the American Federation of the Arts, Bozeman, Montana (April-May, 1935), Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington (Summer, 1935), Arts Club of Sioux City, Sioux City, Iowa (September, 1935), Temple of Fine Arts, Evansville, Indiana (October, 1935), and University Art Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee (November, 1935) (see: a) Iowa Artists Display Their Paintings Here, The Times Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania), November 12, 1934 – listing this work; and b) Current Exhibit In University Gallery Attracts Art Lovers – “Iowa Speaks” Proves Outstanding Among Collections Shown Here, The Chattanooga News (Chattanooga, Tennessee), November 5, 1935 – “A lively watercolor called ‘Entrance to Canal Project’ by McCosh is full of movement and color, suggestive of the manual labor, the cold winter atmosphere and the cooperative spirit which the artist undoubtedly felt when painting the picture.” - Labels verso read: a) “The American Federation of Arts/ Traveling Exhibition/ 32/ to be detached and affixed on back of work/ Title “Entrance to Canal Project”/ Artist: McCosh, David/ Return Address Artist/ Price: Not for Sale/); and b) “Public Works of Art Project 10th Region/ Number 24/ Project No. A/ Name: McCosh David/ Address: Willow Springs/ Title of Work: Entrance to Canal Project/ Date work was delivered: AP 2/ Date work was considered by Technical Committee:/ Approved: [check mark]/ Not approved: [blank]”

About the Artist

David McCosh was born in 1903 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was an important painter, muralist, and teacher. McCosh studied at Coe College, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Students League. He won the Institute’s prestigious John Quincy Adams scholarship and painted in France in 1928. He returned to his native Iowa where he began close associations with Edward Rowan, the Little Gallery, and the Stone City Art Colony. In 1934, McCosh joined the Public Works of Art Program. After exhibiting his pieces and working throughout the Midwest and New York, McCosh accepted a teaching position at the University of Oregon in 1934, where he taught art for the next 36 years. McCosh received three mural commissions from the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts. Many of McCosh’s works from the 1930s and early 1940s draw on American Scene traditions. His later art engaged more with the natural world, most often through an abstract lens. McCosh is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and all other standard references.


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