Artist: Charles Freeman
Title: Characters from Children's Literature
Date: c. 1938
Medium: ?2-panel oil on canvas
This mural hangs on a rear wall of Mozart Elementary school auditorium. In it, Freeman portrays well-known characters from such childrens literature who are gathered chaotically, as if for a class picture. Mary, for instance, tugs at her stubborn lamb; Jack and Jill carry their pail; and Rip Van Winkle dons a beard that betrays his long sleep. A written border names the entire cast. Images of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and childrens literature were popular subjects for Chicago Public Schools WPA murals. Although now in the school auditorium, Freemans mural may have been intended for the school library, where murals of similar subjects often are found. (See Louis Nettelhorst Elementary School and Joseph E. Gary Elementary School).
School: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Elementary School
Artist: Elizabeth Gibson
Date: c. 1938
Medium: murals in oil on canvas
Two other murals commemorating composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and artist Michelangelo Buonnarroti hang on either side of the stage in the Mozart Elementary auditorium. Painted by Elizabeth Gibson, the two panels celebrate the early accomplishments of these child prodigies and artistic geniuses. Mozart is shown at age six performing for Austrian monarch Maria Theresa during his 1762 tour of Europe. He plays at a grand piano surrounded by a captivated royal audience -- the performance secured him patronage from the royal court. The companion mural of Michelangelo (not shown here) shows the artist at 14 carving a sculpture in the Medici Gardens of San Marco.
Related work in the Art Institute:
Attributed to John Quidor, Rip Van Winkle
Charles Freemans painting includes the character Rip Van Winkle. In this painting by John Quidor, we see the old man just after he has awakened from his long sleep.