Orville Carroll (1912-1986)

Orville Carroll collage
Cast of an ancient arrowhead inspired by Santa Ana Pueblo Pottery near Bernalillo, N.M.

watercolor / collage
signed l.r. in pencil
titled and dated verso 1960
20 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches (frame)


This Wonderland Way artist was the Louisville area’s most prolific WPA-era muralist. The New Albany, Indiana, native studied at the Louisville Art Center and soon became a teacher there. In the mid-1930s he traveled to New York City to take instruction at the Art Students League with such major Ashcan/American Regionalist artists as John Steuart Curry, John Sloan and Isabel Bishop. Returning home, Carroll entered a mural competition which brought him federal commissions to decorate post offices in Batesville, Indiana, Osceola, Arkansas, and Harrodsburg, Kentucky. In 1939 he went to work for the Courier-Journal newspaper, retiring in 1956. He sold his art at the St. James Court Art shows and operated a framing business. In 1965 the Southern Indiana Studio-Gallery was the scene of a 35-year retrospective.

Our charcoal shows an industrial riverfront scene at the start of the WPA era.

The watercolor and arrowhead cast is one of his popular St. James Art Show works. It is said that they were so popular that after a few years, he would simply arrive, open his trunk and sell all he brought.