Currently on view at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are two Diego Rivera frescos owned by Smith, as part of the exhibition Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art, on display through May 14.
One of the murals, “Indian Warrior,” was a significant purchase by the college as it is one of the few of the artist’s landmark works to be owned privately. It was purchased with money from the Hillyer endowment fund.
The second work, “Market Place,” is a smaller fresco with a very interesting history. It was commissioned by Mrs. Dwight Morrow (née Cutter) when her husband was the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Prior to leaving office, her husband hired Rivera to paint the murals in the Palace of Cortez in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Mrs. Morrow then commissioned a small fresco for her personal collection. She later donated the work to Smith.
In 1931, MoMA brought Diego Rivera to New York to create five murals for the museum, including the two now owned by Smith. For the first time in 80 years, the murals are on view at the museum.