365 Days of Art: May 9 – Nelson Rockefeller Fires Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera poses next to small artwork.
Diego poses next to copy of the Rockefeller Center mural, which was ultimately destroyed.

May 9, 1933

After growing tensions over Diego’s depiction of Vladimir Lenin, Nelson Rockefeller fires Diego Rivera from his work on the Rockefeller Center murals in NYC. The building’s manager and 12 security guards order Diego to stop working, and present him with a termination letter and a check for his services. The scaffolding around the murals is immediately removed so that Diego can’t continue to work. Within a half-hour, the wall is covered by paper and a wooden screen to keep it from public view. Nine months later, the mural is chipped off and thrown away.

This is a sad story…what the world wouldn’t do for one more Rivera now…

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