May 13, 1933
Diego Rivera's controversial mural in The RCA Building in Rockefeller Center went into an eclipse of indefinite duration yesterday under a blank canvas covering. The job of putting up this new covering was begun Thursday afternoon and yesterday it was completed. So carefully had the canvas been made to match in color the adjacent blank wall space that the casual passer-by hardly would have suspected that the entire area was not virgin plaster.
Certainly there was no hint that under this canvas lay the portrait of Lenin that Senor Rivera had painted against the wishes of the Rockefeller family and thereby provoked his dismissal last Tuesday night.
Rivera was in consultation with his advisers in his suite at the Hotel Barbizon-Plaza during the afternoon, but made no announcement.
The Mexican artist plans no legal steps either against Rockefeller Center or against the General Motors Corporation, which, on Thursday, canceled his commission to paint a huge mural for the General Motors building at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, according to his attorney, Philip Wittenberg. Rivera does not believe that artistic matters should be brought into court.
One of those who was in consultation with Senor Rivera yesterday afternoon was Miss Anna Bercowitz, executive director of the Rand School. She said that Senor Rivera, in a conversation with Harry Lichtenberg, a member of the school's board of directors, had volunteered to paint a mural gratis for the school.
Two groups of artists and writers living in the West sent telegrams of protest to John D. Rockefeller Jr. Coincidentally, F. Ballard Williams, national chairman of the American Artists Professional League, issued
a statement: that an artist of Rivera's power could not confine himself "to the purely decorative demands of the murals in question" and saying that the incident "may appear as one more regrettable instance of our tendency to pursue the lure of foreign names, too often, as it has happened, to our uncalled-for disadvantage and too often as an of front to our own dignity and attainment".