A mural, Unity, created by Violet Oakley, which decorates the
Senate chamber of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
Courtesy, Pennsylvania General Assembly
Violet Oakley, an important American muralist, was born in Bergen Heights in 1874. She trained at the Arts Students League, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Academie Montparnasse in Paris. Oakley created oil paintings, illustrations, stained glass windows and murals. The “Unity” frieze expresses her vision of a peaceful world. This mural was one of many commissioned for the Pennsylvania State Capitol building. At the time, it was the largest mural commission ever awarded to a woman. Oakley was one of three women to receive the Gold Medal Award for distinguished service from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She received many commissions, including painting the first delegates of the League of Nations and the United Nations. Her illustrated books focus on the themes of world peace, disarmament and human rights. She was a pacifist and feminist.