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Gottardo Piazzoni, American, b. Switzerland, (1872–1945)

The Mountain

oil on canvas mounted to aluminum honeycomb panel
143.75 x 86.5 in. (365.125 x 219.71 cm)
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, transfer from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Asian Art Museum through the Joint Committee to site the Piazzoni Murals.
Accession Number: L.2008.005

One of the four large vertical murals on long-term loan to MMA from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. There were originally 10 murals which Gottardo Piazzoni created in 1931-32 for the grand staircase in the S.F. Public Library, and these four were added in 1945. During their time in the library the paintings were exposed to cigarette smoke, urban dirt and bumping library carts; once the murals were removed from the building, when it became the Asian Art Museum, they were painstakingly (and expensively) restored to their original subtle earthy and blue-gray tones. Ten of them now hang in the DeYoung, and four are here in Monterey. Their flattened decorative shapes, minimal details, and muted colors echo the tonalist and craftsman-inspired style of Arthur Mathews with whom Piazzoni studied as a young man. It is appropriate to have them here at MMA not far from the Piazzoni dairy ranch in Carmel Valley where Gottardo grew up and where he lived at his death.

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