Old Man Texas Mural

Arthur Starr Niendorff, a native Texan who grew up in Dallas, executed the mural above the north doors. Niendorff had worked very closely with Diego Rivera, the great Mexican muralist who was also an accomplished fresco painter. A fresco is painted directly upon specially prepared fresh, wet plaster, which was previously applied to dry walls. It is a very difficult technique and Niendorff’s work represents a unique contribution to the permanent artwork at the Hall of State. Old Man Texas, a cartoon character originally created around the turn of the century by John Knott, dominates the center of the mural. This cartoon represents the collective characteristics of the Texans. He looks down upon the cities and modern wonders of Texas. Old Man Texas embraces the skyscraper cities of Dallas and Ft. Worth, and a family with clasped hands. In the center of the mural, behind Old Man Texas, is a giant bale of cotton. In front of the bale is a North Texas farm with its red silo, farmhouse, windmill and water tower. The farm is the foundation of our civilization. The bundles of wheat and ears of corn are second and third to cotton in agricultural importance. Lightning, which shoots out from the clouds on either side and strikes two poles, suggests the harnessing of the elements and their future use. At the right of the fresco is a great vault door, open with golden dollars pouring out, representing the large monetary and banking interests of North Texas. The books to the right and in the front of the vault represent the importance of educational facilities of North Texas. On the left is a giant turbine symbolizing the great industrial and manufacturing interest of North Texas. Above the vault door is one of the then new low winged passenger planes. On the left is a streamlined train.