with 'dean cornwell' tag

profanation

central rotunda one of my favorite stories about the los angeles central library is how dean cornwell won the competition to do the murals in the rotunda. cornwell was so excited about the possibility of doing the murals, he entered the contest three times — once under his own name and twice under assumed names. when they selected the winners, the submission in his own name took first place, and the submissions under assumed names took second and third place.

doing the murals, which encompass 9000 square feet, took him five years.

here’s a brilliant contemporary review, even if i disagree with it, by thomas craven in american mercury magazine, december 1932: “the most conspicuous example of monumental profanation commissioned are the enlargements of coated paper magazine illustrations with which dean cornwell is swiftly and inexorably ruining the interior of one of the few tolerable buildings in los angeles.”