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February 16, 2011 / Claremont Art Events

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.”

This seems like as good a time as any to point out that although Claremont has a wealth of great art that I’m helping to share with all of you, our community is not known for its fine dining. But this year there has been one bright spot on the food desert: The Cheese Cave at 325 Yale St. When we moved here from New Orleans two years ago we were quite seriously depressed about the lack of places to eat in the village. These two women have given us hope that the dire restaurant situation is not permanent – and a place to stock up on Gorgonzola Dolce every Sunday. Stop by if you’re coming to visit the murals or any of the events I’ve told you about. Tell them we sent you.


Leave a Comment
  1. Claremont Art Events / Feb 24 2011 10:50 pm

    I agree, Back Abbey is another good spot. From a reader:

    “I think next time give a shout out to the Back Abbey brothers living their dream, owning and operating a gastropub on the easternmost edge of LA County.

    Eat some cheese then go drink a nice Belgian brew.”


  1. If you go to see the Orozco mural, don’t forget to save time for the Lebrun « Claremont Art Events

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