(Sorry for missing last week; busy with book tour for The Great Heart of the Republic.)
Soon after the handover of Washington Mutual to Chase, Tony Sheets, Millard’s son, walked into the West Portal branch of the bank in San Francisco. After seeing the mosaic outside, showing the international reach of San Francisco’s trade, Tony proceeded inside and—found the interior mural painted over.
Now, the Home Savings banks saw a lot of remodeling between their construction and the present day—and, as we have seen, changes occurred under the management of Home Savings and Washington Mutual as well as Chase.
But given the greater press for uniformity from Chase, their efforts to paint walls white and put up Plexiglas shields has led to the greater threat to this artwork.
Finally, Tony Sheets and Chase have been working together to save more of this artwork – but that doesn’t tell us what has been lost.
The image above is from the corner of the West Portal mural, a casual shot I took back in August 2007. To the right is another painted mural from that branch, at the time; perhaps a local can tell me if it is gone as well.
But more than the specifics of these lost paintings, I want to use this as a general call for images of lost artwork—or, if you are not sure if the Home Savings artwork you pictured is lost, of all interior shots from these banks.
Brian Worley, who worked in the studio in the 1970s, got into the habit of taking installation shots of the mosaics, so we have an excellent record of the exterior artwork, from the first banks until the last mosaics completed. But, as he noted, “the painted murals were, as I remember it, installed later than the mosaic murals…The seams always needed to be touched up and that was done by Sue [Hertel], so I would have needed to go back later specifically to take pictures and was rarely if ever tasked with doing that. Same with the stained glass.” So the exteriors have a record; the interiors, less so.
Can you show us the lost artwork of Home Savings?