Intercontinental Packers Cafeteria Murals
The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern
In the late 1940s William Perehudoff supplemented his farming income by taking a job as a labourer at Intercontinental Packers Ltd, where he painted pipes, fixtures and walls. During one annual spring layoff, he approached Fred Mendel with the idea of painting murals for the staff cafeteria. The project took three months to complete for which Perehudoff was paid his regular hourly wage. Each panel of the mural depicts various aspects of meat processing from delivery of the animals, butchering, canning, packing, to shipping of the finished products. This bustling activity is performed by dozens of workers, framed by dark curving lines.
At this time, Perehudoff had only studied art through a correspondence course and begun showing it publicly in 1944. An avid reader, he was interested in the methodologies of Mexican social realist artists, who felt that the purpose of art was to present an honest expression of daily life. Murals were popular modes as they could be seen by all types of people on the walls of buildings. While working at the meat packing plant, Perehudoff was able to spend time with and learn about Fred Mendel’s art collection, even helping Mendel rehang the paintings in the corridors and offices. The year after he completed the cafeteria murals, Perehudoff went to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to study with Jean Charlot. The adjacent reception room murals demonstrate the artist’s evolving style.
Sandra Fraser, Curator (Collections)
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