Ten years after his first stay, Diego Rivera (1886–1957) returned to San Francisco in June 1940 to headline the main fine arts exhibition of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. Working on a scaffold in an airplane hangar before a live audience, Rivera painted The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on This Continent, commonly known as Pan American Unity, his last mural in the U.S. The fresco depicts in colorful detail a past, present, and future that the artist believed were shared across North America, calling for cultural solidarity and exchange during a time of global conflict. Completed with support from local artists and assistants, with scenes of the Bay Area as a backdrop, the mural celebrates the creative spirit through portraits of artists, artisans, architects, and inventors who use art and technology as tools to shape society.
After the fair, Pan American Unity — measuring twenty-two by seventy-four feet and weighing over sixty thousand pounds — was moved to the campus of City College of San Francisco (CCSF). This was possible because Rivera painted this fresco not on a wall, but on ten steel-framed cement panels. More than half a century later, an international team of experts has spent years planning another move. In partnership with CCSF, SFMOMA presents Rivera’s Pan American Unity in the museum’s free-to-the-public Roberts Family Gallery on Floor 1. On view until 2023, the mural will then return to CCSF to be installed in a new performing arts center.
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Presenting support for Pan American Unity is provided by Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Helen and Charles Schwab, Pat Wilson, and anonymous donors.
Major support is provided by Doris Fisher, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Koret Foundation, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and Sanford Robertson.
Generous support is provided by the Breyer Family Foundation, Katherine Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Roberta and Steve Denning, Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., and John and Ali Walecka. Additional support is provided by Mary Leonard Robinson and Susan Swig.
Funding for the conservation of Pan American Unity was generously provided through a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.
SFMOMA is grateful to the following sponsors who have lent their support to the overall project of Diego Rivera’s America, including the upcoming exhibition.
The presenting sponsors are Bank of America and the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund.
Major support is provided by BART, Cumulus Media, Doris Fisher, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Generous support is provided by Jessica and Matt Farron, Linda and Jon Gruber, Juxtapoz Magazine, Modern Luxury, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Mary Leonard Robinson, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, and Margaret V. B. Wurtele.
Meaningful support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation.