Southwest and south facades Banner ?>

New York 1939 World's Fair: Medicine and Public Health, Science and Education Building Complex

Flushing, NY

Southwest and south facades

(6) The Family; (7) The School, 1939

Commissioned by: Mayers, Murray & PhillipMedium: silhouette glass mosaicExecuted by: Ravenna MosaicsNonextant

Detail of map from Official Guide Book – New York World

Detail of map from Official Guide Book – New York World's Fair 1940 showing location of Mayer, Murray & Phillip's Medicine and Public Health, Science and Education Building Complex

To-scale model of the Medicine and Public Health, Science and Education Buildings with the placement of Meière

To-scale model of the Medicine and Public Health, Science and Education Buildings with the placement of Meière's murals indicated as follows: (1) Modern Medicine (2) Primitive Man and Modern Man (3) Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine and the Dragon of Ignorance (4) Comte de Rochambeau (5) Tadeusz Kosciuszko (6) The Family (7) The School (8) The Picnic (9) Man between the Past and the Future

(6 & 7) Medicine and Public Health, Science and Education Building Complex filmed by Hildreth Meière, 1939. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Meière decorated two facades at the south end of the Science and Education Building around the corner from each other with related murals: The Family and The School.

The Family

The Family

The School

The School

Meière depicted oversized, static figures of a mother, father and children in The Family and a teacher and pupils in The School in a traditional style.

Ravenna Mosaics executed the murals in the medium of silhouette mosaic to keep the cost down. Only ten percent of the mural was composed of mosaic tiles, which were set into a field of colored cement.1 The New York Times on October 2, 1938 described The School as follows: “This one utilizes a mosaic technique, with small gilded tiles comprising the figures of a teacher and her children, against a background of smooth plaster in a soft, dull shade of green.”

Detail of boy from The Family in silhouette mosaic

Detail of boy from The Family in silhouette mosaic

In January 1939, to tie in with fashion promotions, department stores windows in New York displayed sketches by “living artists” of murals they had designed for buildings at the current World’s Fair. Each artist was asked to focus on a particular mural color. Meière’s color was the green of the Family and the School. She presented her sketches at Bonwit Teller in four windows, using cork floors “in simulation of the texture of the walls on which the artist has fashioned her mosaic murals on the Medicine and Public Health Building.”2
1

Hildreth Meière, “Murals—Large and Small,” Women’s City Club Magazine (San Francisco), September 1939: 30.

2

New York World’s Fair Department of Feature Publicity, “The Window Displays Featuring Murals of the New York World’s Fair and the Mural Colors,” New York World’s Fair 1939, central file, New York Public Library, New York.