Last Sunday evening in New York, we stepped out of our hotel for a quick bite to eat. Our choices were very limited in this midtown area, so we ventured toward Rockefeller Plaza and soon found ourselves at the Rainbow Room Grill enjoying a fabulous dinner and the most outstanding views of the city.
The interior views of 30 Rockefeller Center (former RCA Building) were just as appealing. Although our visit was a quick dash through the lobby – my interest was piqued and I wanted to discover more about this impressive building.
The Art Deco design was largely shaped by the vision of architect Raymond Hood. Interestingly, this massive building project was the only major private construction project in New York during the Depression.
Photographer Charles C. Ebbets captured this shot (Lunch A Top A Skyscraper) during the construction phase of Rockefeller Tower (reportedly over 75,000 laborers were employed during the early 1930’s).
The interior murals in the massive lobby at 30 Rockefeller Center have an interesting story. A list of artisans approved John Rockefeller included, Matisse, Picasso, Frank Brangwyn, Jose Maria Sert and Diego Rivera.
Picasso, however declined to even meet with some of the project’s architects and Matisse disdained the notion of bustling people in an office building lobby being able to be “in a quiet and reflective state of mind to appreciate or even see the qualities” in his art.*
Sert and Brangwyn agreed to do murals for the elevator bank section of the lobby and Rivera was commissioned for the front lobby entrance.
Rivera, a well known Mexican socialist artist (husband to Frida Kahlo) , created an mural entitled “Man at the Crossroads Looking with Uncertainty but with Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a Course Heading to a New and Better Future.”
It was viewed as decidedly Marxist in content and when someone noticed that a laborer bore a marked resemblance to Lenin a major controversy erupted. Rockefeller was so angered that Diego was dismissed and several months later the mural was destroyed before it was ever shown to the public and replaced by the present mural, “Man’s Conquests,” by Sert.*
* Source (NYC-Architecture.com)
Original Observation Deck (1933)
I look forward to appreciating even more about this building complex in future visits. Enjoy HH
Read Full Post »