Today we're sharing the fifteenth of twenty-two paintings (all of them views of The Bronx) by Bronx artist Daniel Hauben for the new
Robert A. M. Stern Library on the Bronx Community College campus. The mural is titled "View from The Hall of Fame" and is exactly
that, the view from The Hall of Fame located on BCC's campus.
"Of the twenty-two paintings I created for the Bronx Community College commission, the one I found most challenging was the second of the large stairwell paintings, entitled "The View From The
Hall of Fame." I visited the Hall of Fame colonnade on multiple occasions, at various times of day, during different seasons, and under a variety of weather conditions to get inspired for the
piece. I took dozens of photographs and made several preliminary drawings and paintings. I was still unsure of how to approach it.
The breakthrough moment came with a photo I took one late afternoon in early spring, when the shadows created by the pillars fanned out towards the viewer, adding an exciting dynamic to the
composition. The decision to use this photograph as the basis for the foreground of the painting enabled me to paint the pillars and other architectural elements true to their original design and
proportions. Together with my wife Judy Lane (my in-house computer design expert), I used the miracle of Photoshop to superimpose the pillars over the background panorama, which we created by
splicing four photographs together. We experimented with the proportional relationship between the foreground and background until I found the right balance, where neither overpowered the other.
(In reality, the Harlem River bend is much further away than I show it to be and it is mostly -- if not entirely -- obscured by trees.)
I purposely chose to not make the statues distinguishable as recognizable people. I leave it up to the viewer to decide who among the 'Great Americans' in the Hall of Fame are lucky enough to be
gazing out at the Harlem River Valley and beyond for all eternity...and who are the unfortunate ones, to forever have their backs turned to this magnificent view."
Thanks for the insight Daniel! It's a little depressing to think that some will "forever have their backs turned to this magnificent view." Maybe one day they'll be replaced by Futurama-style
jarheads, free to turn left and right and chat with one another. :)
On a more serious note, school has started up again and the new library is now open!! Have you had a chance to visit and check out Hauben's pieces? If you have, let us know what you think!