- Mathews Murals
- WPA Murals
In 1913, the California State Legislature appropriated $10,000 to decorate the Capitol rotunda as part of a trend to bring art and history to the building. Arthur F. Mathews, a prominent San Francisco artist, was given the commission to create a series of murals that would depict the historical periods of California. Mathews completed twelve murals in four sets of three (triptychs) in time for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition.
The murals are an excellent example of a regional artistic style known as "California Decorative." Arthur and his wife Lucia Kleinhans Mathews combined a romantic classicism and idealism with a Renaissance color palette and California imagery to create this distinctive style. We have included Mathews' own words and interpretations of the murals for context and to illuminate his era's distinctive interpretation of California history. Mathews chose to describe the four epochs and the panels within them in flourishes of language typical to his era.
California, Flags, Beauty and History
On October 16, 1937, three murals painted by Lucile Lloyd were unveiled at the State Building in Los Angeles. Commissioned specifically for the building through a Great Depression-era program (the WPA), they remained on view for 38 years. The building was torn down for safety reasons in 1975. Fortunately the murals were saved, and in 1991 the Senate Rules Committee had them restored and installed in the California Room, recently rededicated the John L. Burton Hearing Room in honor of former Senate President pro tempore John Burton.