Q: When and where did Diego and Frida remarry?
A: In San Francisco’s City Hall on December 8, 1940.
Q: How long did it take to finish the mural?
A: The charcoal drawing on the plaster substrate was unveiled on July 25, 1940.
The first invitational showing was about four months later on November 29, 1940.
(The Fair closed September 29, 1940 and Rivera and his crew worked in the cold hanger, the Palace of Fine Arts, for two months.)
Q: How did Paulette Goddard end up in the mural?
A: She was in Mexico City on a publicity tour for Look magazine and met Rivera just before he was due to come to the GGIE. This connection probably led to the use of images from The Great Dictator in which she starred with her husband Charlie Chaplin.
Q: What is the significance of the name “PETER” on Goddard’s necklace?
A: This was her nickname for herself. Paulette collected jewelry and helped popularize charm bracelets.
Q: What are some of the metaphors in the mural?
A: The mural “bridges” the cultures on this continent. The mural is a physical metaphor for the Golden Gate Bridge. It is made up of 5 horizontal modules and, vertically, the ratio of the two mural panels is the same as the ratio of the bridge tower above and below the roadbed. There is an undercurrent of Masonic images in the mural as well.
Q: What did Rivera think of Pan Americanism?
A: Rivera was a fervent believer in the concept of the unity of the Americans. This idea is a thread that runs through his writings and speeches from the 1920’s up until his death in 1957. Our mural is the embodiment of this belief.
Q: How is the mural mounted?
A: The mural (22’ 1.5” high x 73’ 9” long) is made up of rigid steel frames which support the plaster, which was spread over a steel lath (screen). The five upper 14’9” square panels weigh about three tons each. The five lower 7’4.5” x 14’9” panels weigh just over one and a half tons each.
Q: Are any of the characters in the mural still alive?
A: We know of three:
Donald Cairns, the little boy in the front center of the mural, is Emmy Lou Packard’s son. Mr. Cairns and his family are very supportive of our efforts. His daughter is the image of her grandmother.
Sal Deguarda, the man in the white trunks looking up at the diver, was in the Billy Rose Aquacade at the Fair. Mr. Deguarda is currently working trying to recreate on Treasure Island the 80 foot Pacifica statue that was demolished after the Fair.
Lynn Wagner, Mona Hofmann’s daughter, the seven year old blond girl painting on the right side of the mural, lives in northern California.
Q: What are some of the subtle comments by Rivera?
A: The gentleman sitting at the table looking up at the diver is wearing a Wendell Willkie button. Wendell Willkie ran against FDR in the Nov. 1940 Presidential Election. Willkie was an internationalist and in later years would write a book, One World. These sentiments might have appealed to Rivera; they certainly did to Charlie Chaplin (My Father, Charlie Chaplin, p.264).
Q: Where did Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo live during their visits to San Francisco?
A: November, 1930 – June, 1931 (9 months)
716 Montgomery Street, San Francisco
April-May, 1931 (6 weeks)
73 Monte Vista
Atherton, Ca. 94027
June, 1940 – January 1941
42 Calhoun Terrace, San Francisco
Q: Name the artists who assisted Rivera with the mural:
- Emmy Lou Packard, 1914-1998; California; painter
- Mona Hofmann, 1910-1971; California; painter
- Irene De Bohus, 1913-; American; painter
- Arthur Starr Niendorff, 1909-1976; Texas; plasterer, painter
- Peter Lowe, 1913-1989; Chinese; painter
- Thelma Johnson Streat, 1912-1959; African-American; painter
- Mine Okubo, 1912-2001; Japanese-American; painter
- Matthew Barnes, 1880-1951; Scottish; plasterer
- Paul Holmes Coates, 1911-1972; California; pigment grinder
- Edna Wolff, 1907-2001; Chicago; painter
- Wayne Lammers, n.d.; unknown
- Milo Anderson, n.d.; plasterer
A: He painted the White House portrait of President Monroe before much wider fame as an inventor in the 1840's.
Q: Who is Samuel Morse?