CSU Monterey Bay has recently added to its collection of historically significant works of art.

A portion of mural by Dean Cornwell“The Pageant of Transportation in California,” a sweeping depiction of industrialization in the state, was installed in the library in May as a long-term loan from the Monterey Museum of Art.

The mural, by Dean Cornwell, includes images of Spanish colonization, pioneers crossing the desert in covered wagons, construction of the railroad and an urban environment.

According to a story in the Monterey Herald in April 2012, the mural has “a shape designed to fit a peaked roof and a hole cut in the center for a ticket booth.”

The mural as it is displayed in the libraryDr. Lila Staples, chair of the Visual and Public Art Department and a member of the university’s art committee, was instrumental in bringing it to campus.

“I’m happy to have it on loan from the Monterey Museum of Art for several reasons” she said. “It fits with our pride of place. It fits in with our already acquired murals, and it works seamlessly with our art department’s vision of art as a social process,” she said.

Dr. Staples pointed out that, given its subject matter, the mural also offers an excellent opportunity for discussion about changing social values and perspectives.

Library director Bill Robnett; Dr. Ilene Feinman, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the University Art Committee; and Kathleen Ventimiglia, director for Campus Planning and Development, facilitated the acquisition.

It is the fourth major piece acquired by the university.

In 2002, CSUMB officially accepted as permanent loans from the U.S. Army two murals that grace the walls of the University Center:

• “Point Lobos,” a piece by Alison Stilwell Cameron (1921-1991) that was once displayed in Stilwell Hall on the former Fort Ord. The piece, painted in 1942 as part of a Works Progress Administration project, depicts the cypress trees of Point Lobos State Reserve overlooking Monterey Bay.

• “Los Californios,” a mural by Merlin Hardy (1910-1984). Hardy also painted for the WPA.

In 2003, the university acquired “Incoming Tide,” a mural by well-known Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata (1885-1975) that hangs on a wall in the library atrium. Painted in 1948 for a Japanese restaurant in the Monterey area, “Incoming Tide” (pictured at right) is an image of Point Lobos. 

Top photo:
Detail from "The Pageant of Transportation in California," by Dean Cornwell. Image from the Monterey Museum of Art

Middle photo:
The mural as it hangs in the Tanimura & Antle library