Tuesday Art ATTACK- Leo Politi “South Pasadena Library Mural”

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In 1957 Leo Politi was commissioned to create a mural for the South Pasadena Public Library. Politi was a well known Los Angeles artist and children's book illustrator who won the Caldecott Medal in 1950 "Song of the Swallows". The mural he completed showed a Mark Twain era design of children playing and reading in a field. The pictures of the original mural are on the bottom of the post. The painting had a great design with subtle tones and a simple message. In 1982 South Pasadena had remodeled its Library and asked Mr. Politi if he could touch up the original mural for the grand reopening of the expansion. Then he did something no one expected. He completely painted over the original and changed the tone of the painting. The new look as you can see is much more vibrant in color and detailed. The style of the children also changed to be more impressionistic. An example of the drastic changes is shown in the section of the boy sitting in the tree. The picture below it is the original. Politi seemed to be dissatisfied with his earlier style and felt the mural should represent his more recent work. In my opinion he should have not changed the original, by doing this he destroyed his past and damaged his mural. It is still a great mural but it was better before. If you are ever in South Pasadena you should go check it out, it's a must see.

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