Newark, NJ (PRWEB) October 10, 2012
The central panel of a three-mural marble mosaic depicting Hercules sailing past the Rock of Gibralter that adorned the walls above the lobby of Prudential Financial’s corporate headquarters in downtown Newark for 39 years has found a new home at the Newark Museum.
The mosaic by noted artist Hildreth Meière was commissioned in 1959 by Prudential and installed in 1960. The central Hercules panel is approximately 13-foot x 11-foot and weighs two-tons. Considered among the most prominent of American mosaic artists of the 20th century, Meière is known for her work adorning the roundels on the side of Radio City Music Hall, as well as St. Bartholomew’s Church, Temple Emanu-El, and the Red and Gold Banking Room at One Wall Street among other New York City commissions.
“The Newark Museum is honored to receive this gift from Prudential,” said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, CEO and Director. “It is a work that will be a significant asset to the Museum’s American art collection, not only because of its artistic merit and historical significance, but also because of its strong institutional connection to the Museum. The mural pays homage to Prudential’s storied history and is a wonderful example of Prudential’s support of American arts and artists, especially, as the Museum can certainly attest, in Newark.”
Peter Sayre, Senior Vice President and Controller at Prudential, said, “The Newark Museum is a Newark treasure and Prudential is pleased that our beautiful mural is being restored and installed as a work of art at the Museum. Our gift to the Museum is also a gift for Newark residents and visitors to enjoy. This is in keeping with our long-standing commitment to helping enrich our headquarters city where we were founded more than 135 years ago.” Sayre is a member of the Newark Museum Board of Trustees.
Restorer Anthony Schiavo, who worked closely with Meière as the head color designer of the team that originally installed the Prudential murals, will perform conservation work on the “Hercules” panel in situ in the Vaulted Gallery adjacent to Engelhard Court at the Newark Museum on Thursday and Friday, October 11 and 12. Visitors are invited to watch the restoration in progress from noon to 3:00 p.m. on both days.
Hildreth Meière Dunn, granddaughter of the artist, is documenting the restoration. “It has been an incredible experience to watch the restoration of the marble mosaic panel. To have the opportunity to see Anthony Schiavo work on the mosaics and listen to him talk about my grandmother has been rewarding. One can now see the beauty in all the colors that make up the mosaic,” she said.
In 1959, Prudential commissioned Meière to design the three large marble mosaic mural for its headquarters building. Although she executed many murals in various locations throughout the country, the Prudential project, completed in 1960, was her largest and one of her important corporate commission.
The Prudential mural, which was removed in 1999 and donated to the Museum this past June, is an important piece of art from the last stage of the artist’s career. In its original configuration, the central panel depicted Hercules sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar figures prominently in this panel, while the two flanking panels feature columns representing the Pillars of Hercules which, according to mythology, he placed on either side of the Strait. The other two panels have been donated to Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies Center in Washington, D.C.
Louise Meière Dunn, daughter of the artist, is “thrilled that the center panel of her mother’s Prudential mosaic has found a new home at the Newark Museum.”
For additional information on the Newark Museum, please visit http://www.newarkmuseum.org.
ABOUT THE NEWARK MUSEUM
The Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street in the Downtown/Arts District of Newark, New Jersey, just 3 blocks from NJPAC and 10 miles west of New York City. The Museum is open all year round: Wednesdays through Sundays, from Noon – 5:00 p.m. Suggested Museum admission: Adults, $10.00; Children, Seniors and Students with valid I.D., $6.00. Newark Residents and Members are admitted free. The Museum Café is open for lunches Wednesday through Sunday. Convenient parking is available for a fee. The Newark Museum campus, including its collections, facilities, and other resources, is accessible to accommodate the broadest audience possible, including individuals utilizing wheelchairs, with physical impairments, other disabilities, or special needs. For general information, call 973-596-6550 or visit our web site, http://www.NewarkMuseum.org.
Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art, science and education, receives operating support from the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State — a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Prudential Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.
The Newark Museum is just a few steps from the new NJTransit Light Rail Washington Park Station. Direct connection with the Light Rail at the Broad Street Station and through Penn Station makes the Museum a convenient ride from all points in the region.