San Francisco Landmarks
The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, a mural painted by artist Diego Rivera and assistants Viscount John Hastings, Clifford Wight and Matthew Barnes in May 1931, demonstrates familiar themes in Rivera’s work on the critical importance of labor in the artistic and creative process.
The mural is a buon fresco or true fresco, brushstrokes of hand ground metal oxide pigments in water applied to wet plaster in increments known as giornata. Each giornata defines the area to be painted in one day. Generally, Rivera painted for long periods, commonly twenty hours.
Architect Timothy Pflueger, who worked with Rivera on all three of his large San Francisco projects, brought Rivera to the Bay Area in 1930. (The other two Rivera projects in San Francisco are The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on This Continent at City College of San Francisco and Allegory of California at the City Club of San Francisco. The City College mural is displayed at SFMOMA from June 2021 unit March 2024.)
Source: Adapted from San Francisco Landmark Designation Application approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on October 5, 2021.
The San Francisco Art Institute filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 19, 2023. The bankruptcy declaration valued the mural at $50 million according to the San Francisco Chronicle (April 25, 2023).