Mexican Muralist Alfredo Ramos Martinez at Scripps College
In addition to the Orozco Prometheus mural in the Pomona College dining hall, Claremont is blessed with a secret garden on Scripps College campus which houses a mural by the Mexican muralist Alfredo Ramos Martinez.
Scripps is a beautiful, idyllic place that is acknowledged annually as the most beautiful of all college campuses in the USA. I walk across it several days a week and am awed by it every time. Tucked away in the middle of this 30 acre utopia is a walled in garden, The Margaret Fowler Garden, which is unlocked every morning. I’d wager that only a handful of Claremont residents go to visit it. A shame, really. Go. Pluck some ripe oranges from the orchard of trees that line the campus, walk on the grass, smile at some happy undergrads. It’s a treasure. Here’s an excerpt and a photo from the Scripps website describing the mural:
“On the south wall of the Margaret Fowler Garden are murals by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, often called the “Father of the Mexican Mural Movement of the 20th century.” In 1929 Martinez and his family moved to Los Angeles for medical reasons, and he received commissions to paint murals in Santa Barbara, Hollywood and La Jolla. In 1937 Scripps Professor (1932-63) Millard Sheets organized an exhibition on campus of Martinez’s work. Scripps College commissioned Martinez in 1946 to create this extraordinary mural, “The Flower Vendors,” his most ambitious project. He sketched in the entire composition on the plaster wall, which is over 100 feet long, and then began work on several panels. Unexpectedly, he became ill and died on November 8, 1946 at the age of 72. As Professor Mary Davis MacNaughton ’70 has noted, “The unfinished mural, whose large stylized figures reveal Martinez’ interest in Pre-Columbian glyphs, Byzantine mosaics, and the Tahitian paintings of Paul Gauguin, remains a lasting monument to the importance of the Mexican mural movement and its impact on art in Southern California.” The entire mural was analyzed and conserved in 1994 with a grant from the Getty Endowment.”