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Murals in America

The Rise of American Public Art Following the World's Fair

Nadia M

on 13 May 2010

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Transcript of Murals in America

Murals in America Under this, need intro
-why do murals interest you
-public art
-story telling Paintings in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda
1819-1824, 1840-1855 Trinity Church
Boston 1876 Early Murals George P Post's
Manufacturers and Liberal
Arts Building Woman's Building John La Farge's Murals

The World's Fair "The movement was already in the
air and needed only a strong external
impulse to focus its scattered forces
together into a new and creative element
in American life. That impulse was given
by the Columbian Exposition."
-Selwyn Brinton, 1908 Blashfield's "The Arts of Metal Working: Armor, Brass, Iron and Gold" The Administration Building "The Arts of Peace" "The Arts of War" "Music" "Life" "Spirit of Electricity: Dynamo, Arc Light, Telegraph and Telephone" "Metalwork, Architecture,
Ceramics and Spinning" "Iron, Hemp, Wood and Stone" "The Abundance of Land and Sea:
Silver, Gold, Pearl, Coral" "Penelope at the Loom" "the greatest meeting of artists
since the fifteenth century"
-Agustus Saint-Gaudens Millet
Blashfield Beckwith Reinhart Shirlaw Maynard Weir Vedder Experience Reactions Enthusiam
The American Renaissance The Library of Congress The Beaux-Arts Syle
1876-1914 "Knowledge" "Lyric Poetry" "Looked at dispassionately across the intervening time, it seems,
while some of it was better and some worse, to have been as a whole
rather bad."
-Samuel Isham, 1905 "The World's Columbian Exposition was a training ground where
most of the artists got their first experience in mural painting" (Van Hook 21). Mural Community "Mural painting was brand new to all of us...[We are now] the artists, the
'old timers,' to whom 'World's Fair Chicago' sounds like a bond of brotherhood...
Oh, how very green we were, how very, very verdant, and earnest, and enthusiastic."

-Edwin Blashfield in "A Painter's Reminiscences of a World's Fair," 1923
Legitimacy The National Society
of Mural Painters 1895 Mission: "To promote the dilineation of the human
figure in its relation to architecture, whether rendered
in pigment, stained glass, mosaic, tapestry or other
appropriate media, and at the same time to foster
the development of its ornamental concomitants." "The Evolution of Culture
Through Knowledge" Robert
Reid Philosophy Knowledge Wisdom Understanding Charles
Pearce Labor Religion Rest Study Recreation Elihu Vedder
Aspects of Government Peace and Plenty Good Administration Corrupt Legislation Anarchy Shift From Allegorical
To Historical Criticism of the Library of Congress Lack of uniformity Edwin Blashfield The Evolution of Civilization Not able "to awaken national pride" or
"serve as an expression of america" The murals are impoverished, "a threadbare
affection of classicism in which there is evidence
neither of American inspiration nor of the painter
himself having any participation in the fullness
of our modern life"
- Charles Caffin, 1854-1918
"The muralists left the magnificent
space silent instead of filling it with
the clamor of robust nationalism"
-Charles Shean, 1904 "The Congressional Library at
Washington, beautiful as it
is and technically excellent are
its paintings, unpleasantly suggests
a building given over to a group of
talented and learned foreigners who
[assume]....that the people whose resources
furnished the means for their work
were without a history or a literature."

Baltimore Courthouse "Washington Laying His Commission at the Feet of Columbia"
Blashfield, 1903
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