The Art Digest
August 1, 1933


Diego Rivera, fresh from his "knock-out" at the hands of the Rockefeller family, has once more broken into public print with the announcement that he has started work on a new series of murals in the loft assembly room of the New Workers' School, 51 West 14th Street, New York, where he will depict the history of the revolutionary idea in America. Working this time in a sympathetic environment, Rivera will meet with none of the "capitalist" opposition which greeted his introduction of a portrait of Lenin into the composition of his frescoes at Rockefeller Center and resulted in the forced cessation of his work there and the cancellation of an additional commission from the General Motors Corporation. He will work without pay, the paintings being his gift to the workers's cause.

In his newest pageant of social history Rivera will portray such characters as Thomas Jefferson, Eugene Debs, Thomas Payne, J. P. Morgan and Daniel Shay, leader of the socalled "Shay's Rebellion". Lenin will be represented unopposed, looking down from the same wall with the likeness of John D. Rockefeller.

George Washington, because the artist does not consider him "a central revolutionary figure" will not be present. The painting will consist of 21 panels, eight on each of the side walls of the room, and four small and one large panel on the end walls. As in the ill-fated Rockefeller Center project the whole work will be done in true fresco.

Rivera plans to begin his sequence with the earliest class conflicts at the very beginning of the country's economic history. The first panel will show the conquest of the Indians by the Colonists. Following this will be represented the struggle for supremacy among the different nationalities, war with Mexico, gold in California, the Civil War and finally the period of industrial conflict. Concerning the omission of Washington, Rivera is quoted in the New York Herald Tribune: "His understanding of the American Revolution was limited and therefore he played a thoroughly conservative and even reactionary role in the social changes arising out of the Revolution and construction of a new government".

Rivera has promised to do another series of paintings for the International Workers' School, 7 East 15th Street, where he will depict "the importance of Trotsky as a leader and the part played by the Communist opposition in the work of the masses".