WNYC von Wicht MuralNational Archives and Records Administration
New York’s largest public radio station, WNYC, was housed in the Manhattan Municipal Building at 1 Centre St. from 1924 until 2008, when it moved to an improved location. In 1939, the building’s Studio B received four WPA Federal Art Project murals by Stuart Davis, Byron Browne, Louis Schanker and John von Wicht. Schanker’s is the only one still remaining in the building (no longer operating as the WNYC center).
At the live dedication of the murals, Davis made important and controversial remarks about the state of art, politics and the New Deal, referring to what this summarizer of the broadcast refers to as:
“the flux and struggle around the issue of abstract art during the previous two decades…
The fourth and oldest artist, John von Wicht, was born in Germany two decades before Browne, the youngest. Von Wicht’s work encompassed mosaic, illustration, and book and architectural design as well. His turn-of-the-century, Old World training was both more classical and extensive than the other men’s, and he had completed his first abstract works only two years earlier, in middle age. Yet Von Wicht’s mural is a pure geometrical abstraction, an outgrowth of the work of Wassily Kandinsky, according to New York Times art critic Edward Alden Jewell…
The murals were executed in WNYC’s Studio B during what the Assistant Program Director, Seymour N. Siegel, recalled as a “hot, sticky summer.”… Von Wicht’s is displayed on the third floor of the Brooklyn Public Library Grand Army Plaza Branch.” (https://www.wnyc.org)
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