Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 259

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 259

an unusually large wall space at the end of the room. Parrish contracted to give up all other work and devote himself to the commission which attracted him greatly.

For over a year he made sketches, and finally the theme was decided upon: a bevy of youths and maidens in gala costume, on their way through gardens and along terraces to a great fête, with pierrots and dancers and musicians on the main wall space. It was to be a picture of happy youth and sunny gladness. Five years after the conception of the idea the final panel was finished and installed in the dining-room, where the series has since been admired by the thirty to fifty thousand visitors who come to the Curtis Building each year from foreign lands and from every State in America. No other scheme of mural decoration was ever planned on so large a scale for a commercial building, or so successfully carried out.

The great wall space of over one thousand square feet, unobstructed by a single column, in the main foyer of the building was decided upon as the place for the pivotal note to be struck by some mural artist. After looking carefully over the field, Bok finally decided upon Edwin A. Abbey. He took a steamer and visited Abbey in his English home. The artist was working on his canvases for the State capitol at Harrisburg, and it was agreed that the commission for the Curtis Building was to follow the completion of the State work.

“What subject have you in mind?” asked Abbey.

“None,” replied Bok. “That is left entirely to you.”

The artist and his wife looked at each other in bewilderment.

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