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Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts

Amit Banerjee


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Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts


Date 1932-1933; Medium Fresco; Dimensions E. wall upper register left side p: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm E. wall upper register right side: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm E. wall lower register left side p: 26 7/8 x 73 in. 68.3 x 185.4 cm E. wall lower register center pane: 52 1/2 x 313 1/2 in. 133.4 x 796.3 cm E. wall lower register right side: 26 7/8 x 73 in. 68.3 x 185.4 cm W. wall upper register left side p: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm W. wall upper register center pane: 101 1/2 x 313 1/2 in. 257.8 x 796.3 cm W. wall upper register right side: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm W. wall middle register left side: 26 7/8 x 73 in. 68.3 x 185.4 cm W. wall middle register center pan: 52 1/2 x 313 1/2 in. 133.4 x 796.3 cm W. wall middle register right side: 26 7/8 x 73 in. 68.3 x 185.4 cm W. wall lower register left side p: 204 x 66 1/2 in. 518.2 x 169.0 cm W. wall lower register right side: 204 x 67 in. 518.2 x 170.2 cm N. wall upper register left side p: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm N. wall upper register center pane: 106 x 540 in. 269.2 x 1371.6 cm N. wall upper register right side: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm N. wall middle register left side: 26 3/4 x 73 in. 68.0 x 185.4 cm N. wall middle register center pan: 52 1/4 x 540 in. 132.7 x 1371.6 cm N. wall middle register right side: 26 3/4 x 73 in. 68.0 x 185.4 cm N. wall lower panel: 212 1/2 x 540 in. 539.8 x 1371.6 cm S. wall upper register left side p: 101 1/2 x 84 in. 257.8 x 213.4 cm S. wall upper register center pane: 106 x 540.

Gift of Edsel B. Ford.

The Detroit Industry Murals are a series of frescoes by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, consisting of twenty-seven panels depicting industry at the Ford Motor Company. Together they surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Painted between 1932 and 1933, they were considered by Rivera to be his most successful work. The two main panels on the North and South walls depict laborers working at Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Plant. Other panels depict advances made in various scientific fields, such as medicine and new technology. The series of murals, taken as a whole, represents the idea that all actions and ideas are one.

Rivera depicts the workers as in harmony with their machines and highly productive. This view reflects both Karl Marx's begrudging admiration for the high productivity of capitalism and the wish of Edsel Ford, who funded the project, that the Ford motor plant be depicted favorably. Rivera depicted byproducts from the ovens being made into fertilizer and Henry Ford leading a trade-school engineering class.