New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Murals – New York NY

Project type: Art, Murals
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“In 1936, under the Works Progress Administration, the artist Abram Champanier created a series of murals for the children’s ward [of Gouverneur Hospital]. Champanier had done large commercial murals in the 20’s for the Roxy Theater in New York and the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, among other works. For the hospital, he painted 16 panels on the theme of “Alice in Wonderland in New York.”

The oil-on-canvas murals are all seven feet high, but of varying widths. After the first panel, “Alice Steps Out of a Book,” they cover subjects like “Alice Flies Over the East River Bridges” and “Alice and Her Friends in the Subway,” with the fantastical images rendered in the social-realist style.”  (New York Times)

After the hospital closed, the murals were abandoned for many years, but eventually they were restored and distributed to a number of locations around the city. One of the murals, which shows “Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle and other characters on the steps of the New York Public Library, was installed in the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts in 1984.” (New York Times)

Another article contains a more detailed description of the mural: “Alice cavorts atop Patience, and the White Rabbit sits on the library steps below, glumly consulting his watch. The Queens of Hearts struts toward Fifth Avenue, followed by her Knave.”

The Living New Deal has received word that the mural that had been restored at this location has now been removed.

Source notes

"New York Day by Day", July 26, 1984
"Uncovering New York City's Art Collection", New York Times, September 24, 1987
"Streetscapes: Gouverneur Hospital; In Murals for Children, Alice's City Wonderland", New York Times, August 8, 1993

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Location Info

40 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023

Coordinates: 40.7727831, -73.984201

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