Coit Tower is one of my favorite places to
visit. It sits on top of Telegraph Hill where a semaphore telegraph was
established in the 1850's to give townspeople notice of arriving ships.
|Statue of Christopher Columbus |
stands in front of Coit Tower
It still has the best views of the city and bay.
|The Bay Bridge framed by trees at Coit Tower.|
However, twenty-seven frescoes of 1930's
California life are the outstanding features of Coit Tower. They were created
by a group of artists through a Depression-era work program.
Victor Arnautoff painted City Life. The collaged
scenes include a mailman, a newsstand, a holdup, an accident and, in a nod to
Lillie Hitchcock Coit, her favorite #5 fire truck.
City Life by Victor Arnautoff
Three more artists created these scenes. The Tower's deep, angled window embrasures were used in a variety of ways. Mr. Zakheim created bookcases in his. I especially
liked how Ms. Scheuer painted the four-color method of printing the Sunday
comics in hers.
Library by Bernard
Newsgathering by Suzanne Scheuer and
Surveyor by Clifford Wright.
This is part of a large wall of California
agriculture. Don't you love the beach pajamas of one flower picker?
|California by Maxine
depicts many of their crops.
The previous murals are on the main floor, but
one of the delightful secrets of Coit Tower is the murals in the staircase and
second floor. These are only visible if you take a City Guides Walking Tour so
Lucien Labaudt painted Powell Street on the
circular staircase. Since he was a dress and costume designer, his figures are all
stylishly clothed. What a treat for those of us who love fabric.
Powell Street by Lucien Labaudt
covers both sides of the circular staircase.
All the sports of the day are included in Parker Hall's mural - even a Stanford/Cal Berkeley football game over the doorway (which is only partially visible here.)
Collegiate Life by Parker Hall
portion of Lucien Labaudt's Powell Street.
Finally, my absolute favorite are these scenes
of Home Life by Jane Berlandina. The other frescoes are painted buono (wet) but
Ms. Berlandina painted her room secco (dry) with egg tempera in a very limited
palette of dark red, brown and chartreuse with white outlines.
|Home Life: Living
by Jane Berlandina
Although there are buses, the best way to get to
Coit Tower is to climb the intimidating Filbert Street Steps.
The base of the
Filbert Street Steps. |
Some are wooden and others are concrete.
They are certainly long but there are several
landings where you can rest and enjoy the many flowers, shrubs, birds and
Roses and calla
on the Filbert Street Steps.
Enjoy the day,
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