Study for Mural at U.S. Custom House, Cleveland, OH, "Passing Commerce Pays Tribute to the Port of Cleveland"

  • Kenyon Cox, Study for Mural at U.S. Custom House, Cleveland, OH, "Passing Commerce Pays Tribute to the Port of Cleveland", 1909, oil and pencil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Ambrose Lansing, 1983.114.5

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This study shows Kenyon Cox’s plan for a mural above the fireplace in the office of Cleveland’s Collector of Customs. Cox chose an allegorical scene to represent the city’s booming economy. Mercury, god of commerce, drops golden coins into the lap of an allegorical figure of Cleveland, shown as an idealized woman. Cox used a grid system to translate the image onto a much larger canvas, which would be installed in an elaborately carved frame on the wall. He decided on a color scheme to match the dark brown wood of the walnut walls and the purple marble of the chimney mantle, explaining that “It seemed best to make the decoration a spot of brilliant color in its rich and quiet surroundings.” (Morgan, Kenyon Cox, 1856-1919: A Life in American Art, 1994)

Title
Study for Mural at U.S. Custom House, Cleveland, OH, "Passing Commerce Pays Tribute to the Port of Cleveland"
Artist
Date
1909
Location
Dimensions
21 1/4 x 15 1/4 in. (54.0 x 38.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Ambrose Lansing

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil and pencil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Allegory – arts and sciences – transportation
  • Allegory – place – Cleveland
  • Study
  • Figure group
Object Number
1983.114.5
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI