Murals

Charles Kassler, Jr. 1934. Beverly Hills Post Office (Santa Monica Boulevard and Canon Drive).

I visited the historic post office building in February 2010. Textual information is courtesy of a small exhibition in the post office, which was at that time undergoing renovation and repurposing toward the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

"Chalres Cassler II was born in Denver, Colorado on September 9, 1897. During his high school education he had the misfortune to lose his right hand in an explosion during a chemical experiment. Undoubtedly, this event changed the course of his life. Just prior to the First World War he entered Princeton University, though he did not remain for a degree. He chose instead to study in Chicago at the Church School of Art and the Chicago Art Institute. Through a period of uncertainty about his future, Charles Kassler became a banker with the Corn Exchange Bank of Chicago and later the International Trust Company of Denver. In 1922 he gave up banking and began teaching art at the Atelier Denver, a branch of the Beaux-Arts Institute of New York. Later he helped to found the Chappell Institute of Art in Denver. From 1926 until 1930 Mr. Kassler traveled and studied in Europe and North Africa. In Europe he studied fresco painting, exhibiting his work at various Salons in Paris. The WPA period witness a revival of fresco, especially in California and Chicago where the influence of the Mexican muralists was greatest. Charles Kassler received three important commissions in Southern California in the early 1930s: The Beverly Hills Post Office, The Bison Hunt in the Los Angeles Public Library (destroyed) and Pastoral California on the auditorium of the Fullerton Union High School (recently restored). After the WPA, Kassler taught at Chouinard Art Institute (later to become the California Institute of the Arts) and later worked as a designer in the aerospace industry."

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