The Coit Tower murals are located in the iconic Coit Tower that sits atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Shortly after the tower’s construction in 1933, the murals were added to decorate the interior as part of the Work Progress Administration. In 1934 a team of twenty-five muralists, four women and twenty one men, was selected to decorate the interior using true fresco technique. Twenty-seven murals were installed on the first and second floors. In addition to the eighteen fresco murals, five oil painted canvas murals decorate the interior elevator lobby on the first floor and four fresco secco murals decorate the Berlandina room, located in the second floor enter to the roof. The murals depict California during the Great Depression. Themes such as agriculture, industry, immigration, politics, capitalism, social class, and urbanism are depicted.
The Coit Tower painters were Maxine Albro, Victor Arnautoff, Jane Berlandina, Ray Bertrand, Ray Boynton, Ralph Chesse, Rinaldo Cuneo, Ben Cunningham, Mallette Dean, Parker Hall, Edith Hamlin, George Harris, William Hesthal, John Langley Howard, Lucien Labaudt, Gordon Langdon, Jose Moya Del Pino, Otis Oldfield, Frederick Olmsted Jr., Ralph Stackpole, Suzanne Scheuer, Edward Terada, Frede Vidar, Clifford Wight and Bernard Zakheim.
ARG Conservation Services (ARG/CS) was retained by the San Francisco Arts Commission to conserve the interior decorative finishes and murals at Coit Tower in San Francisco. ARG/CS teamed with mural conservators and decorative painters lead by Anne Rosenthal, to create a team of architectural, objects, and paintings conservators. Conservation work was phased to include pre-construction activities prior to starting conservation repairs, which included installation of monitoring devices, review of protection methods for construction repairs to the building, high resolution photography of the murals, research to confirm the interior paint scheme, and completion of a conditions report. Conservation repairs included: cleaning the murals, stabilizing deteriorated areas, filling areas of loss with compatible material, and in-painting.
San Francisco Arts Commission
San Francisco, California