Henry Billings

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Henry Billings
BornJuly 13, 1901[1]
Bronxville, New York
DiedOctober 1985[2]
Sag Harbor, New York
NationalityUnited States

Henry Billings (July 13, 1901 - October 1985) was an American artist. He was a painter, illustrator, muralist, and art instructor active in New York City. He was a grandson of John Shaw Billings, a surgeon and the first director of the New York Public Library.

Life and work[edit]

Billings attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He also studied at the Art Students League of New York, and was a member of the Art Colony of Woodstock, New York.[3]

His painting style shows an interest in the mechanical and machinery, as well as an attraction to surrealism.[4]

During the New Deal, Billings created a number of murals on commissions overseen by the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later, the Section of Fine Arts). In 1936-37, he created a series of five murals depicting winter sports for the Lake Placid, New York post office.[5] He also contributed murals to post offices in Medford, Massachusetts, Wappinger Falls, New York, and Columbia, Tennessee, and a striking mural of a panther which still hangs near the ladies' powder room in Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center.[1][6]

In 1945, Billings created a series of paintings for LIFE magazine depicting "strafing targets as they appear to the fighter pilot through the transparent rectangle of his reflector gunsight."[7]

Billings died in Sag Harbor, New York, in October 1985.

Selected works[edit]


  • "White Boats," circa 1929 [8]

Public art[edit]

  • "Panther Mural," 1932, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center [6]
  • "Maury County Landscape," 1942, Post Office of Columbia, Tennessee[1][9]


  1. ^ a b c Howard Hull (1 January 1996), Tennessee Post Office Murals, The Overmountain Press, pp. 34–, ISBN 978-1-57072-030-7
  2. ^ Billings, Henry. "Number: 071-12-2279; Issue State: New York". U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current. Ancestry.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Henry Billings". AskArt. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  4. ^ EDWARD, ALDEN JEWELL. (1933, Jan 22). "Exhibition by Henry Billings reveals the artist as being enrolled with the surrealistes." New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from proquest.com, December 18, 2013.
  5. ^ Manchester, Lee (September 1, 2006). "Fine art adorns Placid post office" (PDF). Lake Placid News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Panther Mural". Art and History. Rockefeller Center. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  7. ^ Ground Strafing: Paintings show what U.S. fliers see during low-altitude attacks, LIFE, Time Inc, 30 July 1945, pp. 54–56, ISSN 0024-3019
  8. ^ "Lot Description: Henry Billings (1901-1985), White Boats". Christie's. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  9. ^ Carroll Van West (2001), Tennessee's New Deal Landscape: A Guidebook, Univ. of Tennessee Press, pp. 7–, ISBN 978-1-57233-108-2

External links[edit]