‘Mural’ returns to UI Stanley Museum of Art after world tour

‘Mural’ returns to UI Stanley Museum of Art after world tour

After nine years of touring Europe and the United States, Jackson Pollock’s Mural it is finally at the University of Iowa, where it will be on view when the UI Stanley Museum of Art reopens on August 26.

Stanley Art Museum Director Lauren Lessing and museum collections staff welcomed Mural in his 3,200-pound cage on July 14. After acclimatizing to his new environment, Mural rode the custom freight elevator to the museum’s second floor and is now on permanent display in the Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Gallery.

The 8-by-20-foot painting traveled more than 20,000 miles to 14 venues by truck, cargo plane and boat and was seen by more than 2.7 million people after it left Iowa on a planned world tour soon after the 2008 flood. Mural it marks a pivotal moment in Pollock’s career and is a beacon for art lovers everywhere.

The museum’s inaugural exhibition, Homecoming, will include Muralas well as more than 600 works of art in all media by approximately 500 artists.

Volunteers are wanted

Be at the heart of the action during the opening celebration August 26-28 by volunteering to support a variety of activities throughout the museum. Learn more here.

“We’re bringing home all the great art that people have been missing so much—the rock stars of the Stanley Art Museum,” says Lessing.

The new Stanley Art Museum building will be officially dedicated at 3 p.m. on August 26, while the grand opening celebration will follow on August 26-28.


In 2012, Mural underwent two years of technical study and conservation treatment by researchers at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, followed by solo exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Starting in 2015, Mural was the focus of an exhibition curated by David Anfam and organized by the UI Art Museum, Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’: Energy Made Visible, which traveled to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Berlin; and Museo Picasso Málaga, Málaga, Spain. After the closure of this exhibition in 2016, Mural anchored further exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Art, London. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

about ‘MURAL’

Mural considered by many to be the most important modern American painting ever made. Peggy Guggenheim, the leading modern art dealer in New York in the 1940s, was eager to present in her home a symbol of support for the new American brand of art that was beginning to take center stage in her gallery. She commissioned Pollock to create a mural for her new mansion. Pollock was to choose the subject and the size of the art would be enormous (over 8 feet tall and 19 feet wide), intended to cover an entire wall. At the suggestion of Guggenheim’s friend and mentor Marcel Duchamp, it was painted on canvas, not on the wall itself, so it would be portable. In 1947, Guggenheim closed her gallery and returned to Europe. Recognizing the importance of the UI studio art program, he wrote to Lester Longman, head of the UI School of Art and Art History, on October 3, 1948, reminding him that he had offered to give Mural to the university if he would pay to have it shipped to him from Yale. He immediately replied that he was indeed interested and began negotiating with the university administration about the cost of the fares. Finally, in October 1951, the painting was sent to Iowa.

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