Lon Megargee’s 1934 work The Farmer was part of the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the WPA. The Arizona Capitol Museum has a large collection of Megargee’s paintings.
“Lon Megargee was born in Philadelphia in 1883. He changed the spelling of his last name to Megargee and the story of his past while he made his way westward into the Arizona Territory around 1896. Megargee was one of the first cowboy artists. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and later at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design.
Although he was successful as an artist, Megargee’s wild cowboy lifestyle usually led him to financial instability. His success in art was almost always countered with bankruptcy and pleas to friends and supporters for more money. He was described as an “incurable romantic,” and married at least seven times. Although personal problems would always plague him, Lon Megargee was always a successful painter throughout his life. He is well-known for creating iconic images such as the Stetson logo and A-1 beer posters, as well as his collection of paintings commissioned by the State of Arizona.” – Lon Megargee Paintings at the Arizona Capitol Museum.
You can learn more about Megargee and other artists of the New Deal, from ASU Art History Professor Betsy Fahlman. She will be speaking about the process of writing her book New Deal Art in Arizona at 3 p.m., July 6 at the Polly Rosenbaum History and Archives Building, 1901 West Madison.