While I was in Rhode Island last week, a coincidental discovery occurred — just in time for me to insert into the Monday Mural posts. Lost or forgotten murals at University of RI (URI) were recently discovered behind dry wall that was installed during a renovation in Edward’s Hall. They were painted in the 1940’s by Gino Conti as part of the Federal WPA effort (Works Projects Administration, during the Depression to help artists have income. Click the photo links to go directly to the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe articles to read more.
URI Murals in Edwards Hall, via The Providence Journal
Conti Murals at URI. Photo by Michael Salemo via Boston Globe
It seems like I was just writing about the WPA and recently discovered murals in New Orleans. This makes me wonder how many “lost” murals there really are. I’m glad to learn that once they are newly discovered that there is an effort made to restore them.
Here’s another one that just came to my attention. I wouldn’t classify it as a mural as I would a design but I think it is wonderful. Located on the fifth floor of the now closed Lewis’s Department Store in Liverpool, England.
1950'5 tiles in Lewis's Department Store, via National Museums Liverpool
Libraries are not only wonderful, calm places to read and explore books, but also to see murals. Here’s one in the Earlscourt Library in Toronto. This is an incredible story because the murals, originally painted by Doris McCarthy in 1932, were painted over during a renovation. The locals remembered the original murals and how much delight they brought. They raised $12,000 to uncover just one mural.
Toronto Library murals, via National Post
Today the entire set of murals can be seen thanks to $2.54 million restoration. Lesson: “modernization” shouldn’t forget intrinsic value.
Here’s another mural that had long been covered up in a former public library in New Orleans. Dr. Sylvi Beaumont purchased the structure and didn’t know about the murals until floodwaters caused damage and renovation efforts were started. The murals of Edward Schoenberger were of the historical progress of the written word from caveman days to 1941. These murals were painted over six months on one long stretch of canvas and installed as a commission through the Works Progress Administration. I recognized his style, which was popular during the time, also from the murals in the Sazerac Bar at the Rooselvelt Hotel. In fact, Schoenberger contributed to painting these as well. It is really compelling to read more and see this video about how they came their vibrant rebirth. The artist restoring them did an excellent, painstaking and thoughtful job.
Schoenberger murals uncovered, Times Picayune
Canal street building housing Ed Schoenberger's murals, Nola.com