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Detroit Institute of Arts to examine and photograph rare preparatory Drawings of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals - Important work made possible by a grant from Bank of America Art Conservation Project

Monday, July 22, 2013

(Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will examine and digitally photograph 13 full-scale drawings, known as cartoons, created by Diego Rivera in his preparation for painting the DIA’s internationally renowned Detroit Industry murals. The drawings have not been looked at in more than 30 years, and have never been digitally photographed. The project will take place from July 22 to Aug. 2 and is made possible by a grant from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project. The grant will also fund any necessary conservation work on the delicate drawings.

Due to their fragility and size, the cartoons cannot be loaned to other museums and were last on view in the 1986 exhibition Diego Rivera: A Retrospective. When not on display, the drawings are housed in a climate-controlled custom storage space in the museum.

“Bank of America’s generous grant enables us to establish a much needed digital record of these significant drawings,” said Graham W.J. Beal, DIA director. “Because the drawings are too fragile to leave the museum, the digital photographs will provide researchers and scholars access to an important aspect of Rivera’s work.”

Rivera completed the Detroit Industry in 1933, and considered them to be his most successful work. The murals are based on the then state-of-the-art Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant. Rivera drew the 13 cartoons in 1932 in preparation for the murals and gave them to the museum upon completion of the work.

Five of the drawings will be part of a 2015 exhibition at the DIA featuring the work of Rivera and Frida Kahlo created during their time in Detroit. The cartoons will provide insight into Rivera’s working process and allow visitors to have a better understanding of how the Detroit Industry murals were created. The grant also provides for mounts with a custom-built lighting scheme and climate control that will make the cartoons suitable for public display.

The Bank of America Art Conservation Project is a unique program that provides grants to nonprofit museums throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of degeneration, including works that have been designated as national treasures. Since 2010, Bank of America has provided grants to museums in 25 countries for 57 conservation projects through the Global Art Conservation Project. In 2012, the program supported the restoration of a diverse range of works, including Picasso’s Woman Ironing at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tintoretto’s Paradise at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; the reassembly and preservation of the illuminated manuscripts of the Anvar-I Suhayli at the CSMVS Museum, Mumbai; and five paintings by Marc Chagall at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. In 2013, the list of recipients has grown once again to include the restoration of 24 projects in 16 countries.

“As art conservation consumes ever greater portions of tightened museum budgets, the need for private arts funding has become even more critical,” said Matt Elliott, Michigan Market President, Bank of America. “We are honored to help preserve a work of art that is culturally and historically significant to Detroit, a city in which we have done business for more than 120 years.”

Bank of America support for the arts is diverse and global, and includes loans of its art collection to museums at no cost, sponsorships, grants to arts organizations for arts education, and the preservation of cultural treasures.

Note: Media are invited to attend a breakfast reception hosted by Bank of America and the DIA on Thursday, August 1, at 9 a.m., during which one of the cartoons will be available for viewing. Please RSVP to Larisa Zade by July 29.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6–17, and free for DIA members and residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

Click here to download high-res images.

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.
Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit and residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

Contact:    Larisa Zade    313-833-7962    lzade@dia.org    www.dia.org