Statue in family's garage is discovered to be notable Depression-era artwork

The statue is 4 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds.

ByABC News
May 07, 2019, 4:40 PM

What do you have stored in your garage? Perhaps some old furniture, forgotten clothing and broken kitchen appliances?

One family in Houston, Texas, who has not been named, discovered that a 4-foot-tall, 180-pound sculpture that had been in their garage for the past 50 years is in fact a notable piece of Depression-era art...according to the FBI.

After curiosity got the better of them, the family contacted the FBI to find out more about the unusual sculpture they had lived with for so long, according to Houston FBI spokesperson Christina Garza.

PHOTO: "The Transient Spirit of 1935," a 4-foot-tall, 180-pound sculpture, languished for decades in a family garage in Houston.
"The Transient Spirit of 1935," a 4-foot-tall, 180-pound sculpture, languished for decades in a family garage in Houston.
FBI Houston

After some investigating, the FBI found out that the sculpture was called “The Transient Spirit of 1935.” It was carved during the Great Depression under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a government program that put millions of Americans to work, including a recent graduate of Princeton who majored in art.

That graduate, whose name is unknown, spent 128 hours carving “Transient Spirit” out of cedar wood.

How it got to the family’s garage is still a mystery, but no foul play is suspected.

Members of the Houston family told FBI agents who work in the agency's Art Recovery Division that they had played on the sculpture as kids, and had no idea that it was valuable.

The sculpture has now been given to the Department of the Interior, which stores all WPA artwork.

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