Retro WPA posters

Images courtesy of Library of Congress

Created as part of the visionary Federal Art Project, these gorgeous Depression-era posters were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration to help struggling artists find work while also enriching public spaces and promoting tourism and environmental awareness across the nation.

Throughout the nearly eight years of its operation (1935-1943), the Federal Art Project fostered the creation of more than 200,000 works of art — not just travel posters, but also paintings, drawings, murals and sculptures for use in libraries, schools and other public facilities.

Although the imagery found in these posters is decidedly figurative, many of the artists hired for the project later went on to become major names in abstract expressionist art, including Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Mark Rothko, to name a few.

Many decades have passed since these iconic posters were created, but their visual impact lives on thanks to nostalgia for the United States' national parks, wilderness areas and countless other special natural places. Continue below for a selection of these beloved works:

Retro WPA poster: Grand Canyon
Retro WPA poster: Yellowstone National Park
Retro WPA poster: Arches
Retro WPA poster: Caves
Retro WPA poster: National parks wildlife
Retro WPA poster: Fort Marion National Monument
Retro WPA poster: Zion National Park
Retro WPA poster: Welcome to Montana
Retro WPA poster: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Retro WPA poster: Hiking
* * * 
 
Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.