Objects of Art: Frans Wildenhain Ceramic Mural
Location: Rotunda, Building 38
Artist: Frans Wildenhain
Installed in June 1963, this 208-foot long ceramic frieze composed of over 900 individual pieces of freely designed ceramic and fused glass, is mounted on four 52-foot walls and took 14 months to complete. Each piece is wired to a metal lath behind the scratchcoat. Made up of four or five different clays including Kentucky ball, Denver fire, and clay from New Jersey, the pieces were fired in kilns at Professor Wildenhain's home studio and then transported to the Rochester Institute where he temporarily constructed the entire mural on a large easel. When the work was completed, each piece was numbered then placed in crates for transportation to the Library.
The mural is abstract and was originally conceived (in the artist's words) "as a sort of wedding of medical and architectural motifs" but revised to "take the images off the earth," as it were, and "to send them flying around the room," thus representing the forms or impressions these subjects take in the artist's mind.