If you go to see the Orozco mural, don’t forget to save time for the Lebrun
I’ve written about the Orozco mural at Pomona College and I’ve written about the Alfredo Ramos Martinez at Scripps College, but did you know we have another notable mural in Claremont? I was reminded of it because of a write-up on the Jose Clemente Orozco in this week’s Claremont Courier. (Don’t even try to find the article online, they’ve started charging for access.) Here’s how you find the black and white fresco by the famous artist Rico Lebrun: when you walk up the stairs to the dining hall on Pomona’s campus, you have to stop, turn around, and look behind you. If you don’t know about it, you may not notice it until you exit the building to leave. The Rico Lebrun mural is hidden behind the arches inside the dining hall building. This isn’t an architecture blog, but still, just spend a minute soaking in the structure as well.
Painted in 1960 by the Naples born artist, Pomona literature says Lebrun visited the campus in 1956 and expressed the desire to paint something for the campus. He wrote to the president of the College that he wanted to paint a work that would “tend more toward the serious and tragic than toward the decorative and superficial… I can only say that to be in the same area with Clemente Orozco makes me wish to honor him with my highest possible tribute.” And so Pomona students now dine with not one, but two incredibly beautiful but somber murals around them. Lebrun’s painting, Genesis, depicts the story of creation, complete with imagery of Adam and Eve departing Eden, Cain and Abel entwined into one body, Sodom and Gomorrah falling in judgement, and Noah surrounded by the ravages of The Flood. Below is an image of the mural from the Pomona website which shows far more detail than my iPhone camera (click to enlarge). It would be a wonderful way to spend the afternoon visiting all of the murals I’ve mentioned on the Claremont campuses (see map). See you there.