When Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Goes Awry: Nelson Rockefeller v Diego Rivera, The Rockfeller Center, New York, May 1933

Posted on May 17th, 2013 by The British Newspaper Archive

We were very interested in this quirky story about the removal of a controversial mural from the RCA Building in New York in 1933.

The Mexican artist, Diego Rivera had been commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to paint a mural in the RCA Building, which was the centrepoint of the Rockefeller Center.

The painting, entitled ‘Man at the Crossroads’, contained a large portrait of Lenin, which, ahem, did not go down very well with a very surprised Nelson Rockefeller.

As the Rockefeller Center is a citadel of capitalism, the feeling was that it probably wasn’t the best place for a massive portrait of Lenin – admittedly, that perspective likely depends on your political viewpoint!

However, Rivera refused to remove Lenin from his mural, hence the fascinating kerfuffle that followed.

historical newspaper story about nelson Rockefeller and diego rivera

Nottingham Evening Post – Thursday 11 May 1933

Image © Northcliffe Media Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


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