World renowned Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957) came to the Golden Gate Expo during its second year as part of the “Art in Action” exhibit. From June to September 1940 (three months after the Fair actually closed), in front of thousands of onlookers, Rivera painted a 10-panel mural called Pan American Unity.
In this mural, currently housed at the City College of San Francisco, one observes many notable figures – historic, infamous, and celebrated in their day – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, emancipators John Brown, Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo, and Simon Bolivar.
The mural also pictures Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo, two of Timothy Pflueger’s buildings (450 Sutter and 140 New Montgomery), Timothy Pflueger himself, the Canadian sculptor Dudley Carter, Frank Lloyd Wright, dictators Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin, as well as Hollywood figures Paulette Goddard, Edward G. Robinson, and Charlie Chaplin.
Nestled in this immense work, and garnering modest attention, is a male swimmer looking up at a female diver (CCSF’s own Helen Crlenkovich) and wearing white trunks. This is our very own Sal DeGuarda, eyes upwards, perhaps staring longingly at the Pacifica Statue. The mural can be viewed at CCSF Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
More on the mural Pan American Unity – Guidelines