About the Art
On the façade of the International Music Hall fronting on Fiftieth Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, are three of these ornaments. The three are circular and eighteen feet in diameter. Each is placed sixty feet above the sidewalk forming a complete decorative scheme in harmony with the entire development.
Oscar Bach, metal craftsman, who personally undertook the execution of these plaques, following a design by Hildreth Meiers, said yesterday that they were the first and only building decorations of this type in the world. They required six months to build.
“These plaques are akin to gargantuan pieces of jewelry,” Mr. Bach said yesterday. “No machinery being available to cast these huge figures we were obliged to beat them into shape by hand in the manner of a silversmith. The riot of colors that are part of this scheme are due to a special enameling process we have used calling for a lavish display of genuine vitreous enamel. This process is almost imperishable. I believe these plaques will last as long as the universe. This is not hard to comprehend when I tell you that these plaques are chromium steel, duraluminum, bronze, brass and copper. And each has a specified purpose in the makeup of the pieces. Indeed, it is interesting to note that in recent Egyptian discoveries the enamels uncovered are in an almost perfect state of preservation, being as bright and shiny today as they were when they were made thousands of years ago.
“It was necessary to execute these three plaques and also the thirty-seven feet long rectangular one on the north façade of the RKO Photoplay theatre entirely by hand.”
New York Herald Tribune, November 13, 1932
About the Artist
Hildreth Meière a distinguished Art Deco muralist, mosaicist, painter and decorative artist, ranks with the very small number of women artists — such as Violet Oakley, Berenice Abbott, Isabel Bishop and Georgia O’Keeffe — whose achievements gained the recognition of the established art world during the first half of this Century.
Educated at New York’s Convent of the Sacred Heart, Manhattanville, the Art Students’ League, the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in Florence, Italy, she became the country’s leading practitioner of the art of mosaic, and one of America’s most gifted embellishers of architectural environments.
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