City College of San Francisco Mosaic – San Francisco CA


These two 50′ x 45′ low-relief polished marble mosaics depicting “Organic and Inorganic Science” by the Swiss-born artist Herman Volz are located in the south portico of San Francisco City College’s Science Hall. Juan Breda served as assistant mosaicist for the project. The images represent fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics in tiny tiles. Text accompanying the mural reads ‘Give me a base and I move the world.’ Restored in 2005, the murals were originally part of the Golden Gate International Exhibition’s “Art in Action” show on Treasure Island before they were moved to the college.

“Completed on site, the mosaics took two years to install with a staff of eight workmen. Each tile is of varying thickness, resulting in shadows that emphasize their shape. Each marble tile was carefully polished, cemented onto the façade of the building, and then polished again.

Volz was educated in Europe and came to the US in 1933, where he became well-known as a painter, lithographer, and mosaic/ceramic artist for the WPA. He exhibited at San Francisco’s Museum of the Legion of Honor from 1937-1941 and won the San Francisco Art Association prize in 1937.” (lisa velarde)

More information can be found in this mini-documentary:

Source notes

Originally posted in the New Deal Art Registry:

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Location Info

Ocean Avenue at Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Location notes: Science Hall, north and south porticos

Coordinates: 37.723158, -122.452330

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