Table of Contents
- 1939: October | November | December
- 1940: January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
- 1941: January | February | March | June
Frida will divorce Diego it was disclosed today. (SF Chron., 10.19.39) Before the court of Coyoacán, her old friend Manuel González Ramírez served as her lawyer. (Frida, page 272.)
Diego and Frida’s divorce is finalized.
Picasso: Forty Years of His Art opens at MOMA and will run until January 7, 1940. The show’s co-sponsor is the Art Institute of Chicago. (DaDaBase @ MOMA).
Red army invades Finland with 26 divisions. [Despite overwhelming odds, the Finns hold on until March 12, 1940; probably convincing Hitler that when the time comes he can defeat the USSR easily.]
Sometime this month the final settlement papers for the divorce will be handed to Frida in her studio. (Frida, page 277)
Martin Dies announces that Rivera and Trotsky may come to Texas to testify before Jan. 3. Rivera denies knowledge of the invitation and says “It’s all rather strange.” Trotsky doesn’t comment. (SF Chron, 12.7.39) “Committee associates are surprised. (NY Times, 12.7.39, p.22)
“Trotsky Accepts Dies Bid to A Hearing.” Anti-Grapes of Wrath sentiment at Associated Farmers banquet. (SF Chron 12.8.39)
Rivera’s birthday. SF Chronicle editorial on why Trotsky would make a star witness. Letter to the editor hoping that the deal to stage the 1940 GGIE gets going. Also, Rivera statement, Excelsior and interview by Arthur Constantine, International News Service.
Rivera says he realizes he’s in danger. (FBI files)
“Plan to Outlaw Reds is Gaining in Mexico,” “It is asserted that Spanish refugees are especially active in Communist circles,” “It is pointed out that Colonel Siqueiros is himself a Spaniard.” (Siqueiros is from Chihuahua) (NY Times, 12.9.39, p.2)
FBI translation of article,”Diego Rivera Tells the Dies Committee Who the Agents of the ‘Checa’ in Mexico are.”
Editorial “Trotsky at Every Opera House” [Advocates Dies holding hearing in every town with Trotsky, charging a small entrance fee and thus fund the Committee.]
Editorial “Original Expropriation Not Paid For” [Montezuma’s heirs have been waiting for 350 years for reimbursement, so American owners of recently expropriated properties shouldn’t get their hopes up.] (SF Chron, Ed. Page, p.10)
Rivera drawing show opens at SFMA. (SF Chron, 12.10.39, p. 15)
“Dies Will Forego Questioning Trotzky” (SF Chron, 12.13.39, p.4)
“…Other members of the committee had no idea of Dies’ plan to examine Trotsky and Mexican painter Diego Rivera until he broke into the headlines with it–without committee approval..” (SF Chron, 12.14.39, p. 17)
Nazi liner Columbus hastily leaves Vera Cruz, Mexico. [This ship figures as the Cristoforus in Rivera’s third HOY article (1.13.40). There are allegations about the real use of thei ship. Like many other Nazis ships at sea, it is trying to find its way home after the war suddenly commenced September 1, 1939.]
Emmy Lou Packard’s husband, Burton Donald Cairns, is killed in an auto accident in Portland, OR. (various ELP files)
Mexican tabloid HOY article, “Ecce Homo”, has woman/child amidst war scene, evocative of the “movie” panel.
Mexican President Cardenas loudly denounces Stalin’s invasion of Finland. Rivera says 40 high government officials are communist. (SF Chron, p.10)
“Coast Fair Won’t Say Die” (NY Times, p.6)
Caught off the coast of the Bahamas by the British navy, the captain of the Columbus was ordered by Berlin to scuttle his ship.
The US Navy picked up 578 survivors, to be taken to Ellis Island.
“New Coast Fair Plan Approved” (NY Times, 12.23.39, p.8) The second season of the Golden Gate International Exposition is on.
HOY (Antonio Arias-Bernal) cover has Santa Claus/reindeer in gas masks.
“What war?” Henry Ford thinks that people will repudiate war. (SF Exam, Sect. 1, p.6)
Rivera’s first HOY article, The Truth About Finland. In his article Rivera explains why the USSR was compelled to invade Finland for strategic purposes; to put a buffer in the west. The cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) has Father Time sadly reading Mein Kampf, amidst headlines about invasions, a hanging dove of peace, & the New Year infant in a battle helmet lighting a bomb. [FBI translate this article from the Mexican weekly tabloid.]
Francis Lederer (who appears in the mural in a scene from Confessions of a Nazi Spy) opens in No Time for Comedy at the Curran Theater in San Francisco. (SF Exam) [He gets good reviews in tomorrow’s paper]
Film The Grapes of Wrath opens.
Rivera’s second HOY article, Mexico, Battlefield Of The Secret Armies.
The day after a Partido Communista Mexicano (PCM) meeting, Robert McGregor, a member of the U.S. Consular staff, meets with Rivera in his home to discuss five specific subjects. (“The Strange Case…“) [Is this their first meeting?]
FBI translation of second article, “It is believed that Rivera will either meet with personal harm or will probably be deported from Mexico within the very near future.” (FOIA)
Rivera’s third HOY article, In Mexico, There’s Also A War.
(Diego may be exaggerating in taking credit for “blowing the whistle” on the Nazi ocean liner Columbus, which he says is an armed submarine tender.)
Columbus sailors start cross-country train ride to Oakland to be housed on Angel Island until they can be repatriated via the Pacific. [They are “ship-wrecked” on Angel Island due to British blockade of the Pacific. (See Jan. 22)]
“Anti-U.S. Plot Bared in Mexico” (SF Exam, 1.15.40, p.4) [Reports that Nazi agents have set up headquarters in Mexico City from which to conduct sabotage against the US. J. Edgar Hoover declined comment.]
“Posters appeared throughout Mexico advocating the expulsion of Diego Rivera.” [“This is the traitor. Jew faker.”] (FBI files)
“Exposicion internacional del surrealismo” opens at the Galeria de Arte Mexicano in Mexico City. (Art and Revolution, p.99)
[Minervegtanimortvida, one of two Rivera entries in the show, will end up at SFMOMA as Symbolic Landscape or Tree with Glove and Knife. Per Art & Revolution, p.318, it is an example of surrealism’s “resolution of contraries.” See 12.11.40. Ironically, Cesar Moro’s preface to the catalog for this show will reject mural painting.]
“Roosevelt Urges World Participation In Fair” (SF Exam, 1.18.40, p.8)
[Calif. house members ask $500,000 appropriation to continue government exhibits and help Pan American countries with exhibits.]
“Charlie Chaplin, believe it or not, finishes ‘The Dictator’ in two weeks…” (SF Exam, p.19) [Not!]
Timothy Pflueger appointed to Exposition’s Art Commission. (SF Exam, 1.20.40, p.11)
British stop Asama Maru almost back to Tokyo and grab Nazi merchant seaman. (See January 14.)
Commentary on the overwhelming vote in the House to continue Dies Committee. (SF Chron, p.12) Committee gets $75,000 but FDR’s Interior Secretary Ickes says Dies should step down. (SF Chron, 1.26.40, p.5)
“Creel In Mexico As Cardenas Aide: U.S. Fair Commissioner to Advise On Propaganda Methods” (SF Exam, p.13) [PR problems due to German ships taking refuge in Mexican waters and Mexico’s expropriation of oil properties. San Franciscan George Creel is U.S. Commissioner to the GGIE.]
Picasso: Forty Years of His Art opens at the Art Institute of Chicago. It will run until 3.3.40. (DaDaBase @ MOMA)
Rivera’s fourth HOY article, How The Stalinazi Agents Work In Mexico.
Early (date uncertain) in the month Rivera meets with U.S. Consular staff in regards to a PCM document that had come into their hands. The State Department is not inclined to believe Rivera (“The Strange Case…”)
HOY cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) shows Hitler and Stalin in costume disguised as each other.
Robert McGregor, U.S. Consular official, visits Rivera in his home to ascertain his take on the dismissal of Hernan Laborde, Secretary General of the PCM. (“The Strange Case…”)
HOY cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) shows Stalin in the shadows as a puppeteer manipulating Mexican commies from Moscow (Lombardo Toledano et al)
Finland loses war and signs treaty with Russia.
“If Europe blows up and destroys its cultural heritage, the Americas can turn for inspiration to their own, indigenous art. The art that predates Columbus.”
[L.A. Museum Director Roland J. McKinney as he prepared to unveil a 3 gallery pre-Columbian show, 3.15.40, LA Times]
March late in month
Over three days Dr. Grace Morley, director of the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA, later SFMOMA), meets and visits Rivera. (Pflueger files)
[We assume she had to leave quickly for Chile. She is in charge of procuring Central and South American art for the Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE). She is, technically, not in charge of Mexico, which is the purview of Thomas Carr Howe, Jr. [Director of Legion of Honor 1939-1968]. Though the April 1940 issue of the San Francisco Art Association Bulletin says Howe is down there now, it was later in the month and would have been too late to insure that the necessary negotiations could be finished in time to commit Rivera to a role at the fair. Note: Art In Action is only known as the “Active Arts department” per the Bulletin and Volz, Carter, and Olmstead (sic) are listed as participants with an allusion to a “huge” fresco to be painted.]
G.L. Morley wires Pflueger from Guatemala City, “D R greatly interested reasonable rate. Details follow air mail.”
Letter from the Palace Hotel (Guatemala) says Rivera would like to use “young artists as helpers.”
Confused by her lack of a film career and controlled by her new love of Orson [Welles], Dolores moved out of Gibbons’ house and asked for a divorce in March 1940. She and her mother bought a home at 1455 Stone Canyon Drive in the new subdivision Bel Air, filling up with stars and moguls. (austinfilm.org)
America First committee formed. The group, which advocates isolationism and is against Internationalism, has Charles Lindbergh among its members.
Sometime this month the PCM (Partido Communista Mexicano) at their April meeting pledge to “’take punitive action against the informers’ and to make ‘every effort to get rid of Trotsky.’” (“The Strange Case…“)
In Santiago, Chile Dr. Morley cables Tim Pflueger, Vice Chairman of the Fine Arts Committee of the GGIE, that Rivera eager to work, “Anxious commitment soon for arranging summer plans.”
Cable arrives San Francisco 10:05 a.m.
HOY cover has skeletal soldier with barb wire, bayonet/rifle, and vulture (possible mural imagery)
Between now and the 12th Rivera writes Pflueger starting to discuss theme (if it is to be a Mexican theme, he can do preliminary drawings in Mexico)/ fees/logistics. He mentions he plans to be in the East in May and New York for a show in November. [The trip in May was to have been for the Garment Worker’s New York convention. His sometimes testy letter to Jay Lofton on 10.18.40 explains why he missed this commitment. No sense of panic.]
GGIE will use Paulette Goddard’s measurements for judging the “Miss Streamline” Contest, (SF Chron, p.15)
Pflueger checks into Hotel Ritz, Mexico, D.F. and pays 14 pesos/night through the 18th. He will sometime later telegram (undated/handwritten) his brother, Milton, requesting blueprints of Fine Arts Palace. (Pflueger files)
He also sends telegram to Jack James, Director of Promotion and Publicity for the GGIE, laying out outline of deal and specifying “at least three months.” In his preparatory notes to writing the telegram text, Pflueger reminds himself not to mention Rivera’s name in wire because as he says in the telegram, the “danger of leak great.” He’s going to have six views of “signing” of contract photographed.
“Monahan approves one thousand per month not to exceed three months traveling expenses not to exceed one thousand dollars in toto…holding release of story until I get a wire…” (Telegram from Jack James to Pflueger in Mexico.) [A committee headed by Dorothy Wright Liebes gets this money by a subscription of “wealthy donors in San Francisco.” ELP: July, 1958 Notes.]
Pflueger telegram (handwritten copy) to James stating he can’t go back to Rivera and limit it to three months, “arguing to have him there duration of Exposition….air mailing pictures today.” [One of the pictures with Rivera and Pflueger in the studio appears April 26 in the Portland, Ore. Journal.
A note on Hotel Ritz paper alludes to another photo with R to L: Thom Carr Howe, Jr., Diego Rivera, Timothy Pflueger, Nieves Orozco (model), Irene Bohus (American painter), and Maria Theresa Pinto (Chilean sculptress)]
Pflueger’s notes to himself include: trying to get Clifford Wright or Matthew Barnes as assistants, getting “as much historical stuff as possible-Morse Fulton“, good lighting for Rivera’s bad eyes, etc.
Handwritten/typewritten letter from Diego to Pflueger accepting invitation and proposing the theme of the “fusion” of the north and south. Also, signed handwritten contract in Pflueger’s hand, both on Ritz Hotel (Mex.D.F.) stationary.
Telegram to Pflueger from Jack James, Director of Publicity and Promotion of GGIE giving Monahan’s OK on “duration of Fair for artist” and limiting travel to $1000.[No sense of panic.]
Diego Rivera fills out American Consular Services “Declaration in Connection With Paintings, Etc., And Sculptures” for an oil painting Tiger in the Jungle attesting to its authenticity and originality because the artist is in an “insane asilum” (sic). [Is Pflueger taking the painting back to the US? The painting is not in the SFMOMA collection per Josh] (Pflueger files)
Sometime after this date, Rivera’s article, “Stalin, Undertaker of the Revolution,” appears in May issue of Esquire magazine. [Not cited in Readers Guide to Per. Lit.] [Trotsky had called Stalin “gravedigger of the revolution” to his face at a 1926 Politburo meeting….probably a bad move, (Stalin as Revolutionary, Tucker, p.446)]
Pflueger checks out of Hotel Ritz.
Pflueger letter pitches mural sponsorship to the Board of Education (BOE). Their sponsorship incurs no cost other than the storage of the mural until the new library is ready. (Pflueger files)
“Diego Rivera Signs With Exposition: Famed Muralist from Mexico to Work in Fine Arts Palace” (SF Exam)
Dr. Morley to Mexico City on way to San Francisco (See cable in Pflueger files.)
Pflueger letter to William Monahan, General Manager of the GGIE, sending copies of the agreement between Rivera and Pflueger on behalf of the GGIE. He requests that Monahan send an official confirmation for Rivera’s use to get out of Mexico. This should leave on the Pan Am 3:30 a.m. LA to Mexico plane on 4.27.40. Also, include the first $1000. Board of Education resolution No. F-1372 agrees to act as sponsor with the caveat that the Art Commission must approve the preliminary drawing. (Pflueger files)
The 19th International Exhibition of Watercolors show opens at the Art Institute of Chicago (till May 26). Rivera’s four watercolors will be on loan from Edward G. Robinson. (Catalog @ Docs/Diego Rivera/Chronology docs)
T. Pflueger sends letter to Rivera telling him all is going well. However, Clifford Wight is in London and unavailable, as is Barnes (who will become available), but Stackpole says a few good men available. Engineers are working on a “daylight” bulb and have arranged for 14’x24’ studio built behind mural. [This letter is alluded to in early May letter D.R. to T.P.] (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to Rivera in which the idea of modifying the plans for the library to showcase the mural is laid out (includes drawing, now missing). The mural will be installed in the ground floor main reading room, not one floor up, and visible from afar (includes now missing aerial view to show sight lines). To accommodate the new proportions of the room, the fresco will be slightly altered to 22 feet high; the new 14’9″ square upper panel size will come in under the 15’ limit for transporting over the Bay Bridge (making the lower panels 7’3″ high). Pflueger errs in saying the width of the mural will be 43’3″, instead of 44’3″ and says the area of 951.5 sq.ft. (Actually 973.5 sq.ft.) is less than the 1200 sq.ft laid out by Rivera. Pflueger suggests half width panels added to each side would bring the total up to 1276 sq.ft. (Actually 1298 sq.ft.) Very importantly Pflueger states that he feels the work can eventually cover “the entire reading room.” (Pflueger files)
[Sometime between now and early June six panels will be constructed by Soule Steel, lath/plastered by Hermann Bosch and delivered to the Fine Arts Building by Thomas Drayage. By mid-June Pflueger will be ordering four more panels, where these parties are cited. Currently, there is no documentation on the first order.]
Sometime early this month, Rivera says to Pflueger that he needs to leave Mexico City “as soon as possible” and needs the $1000 travel expense money. Rivera encloses a letter he calls a “provocation” and wants to know Pflueger’s opinion. (Rivera refers to Pflueger’s Apr. 26 letter)
[The letter was sent by artist Andrée Dutcher Rexroth, divorced wife of poet Kenneth Rexroth. In the letter she says that artists at the GGIE are working for free and that Rivera is not welcome. (ELP oral record, June 15, 1982). She was a communist and if a a Stalinist, she might not have had any love for Rivera, a Trotskyist. As Masha Zakheim related to me, this was the reason her father artist Bernard Zakheim, would have nothing to do with Rivera when he returned to San Francisco in 1940. In October 1940 Andrée died from complications of an epileptic seizure.]
Count Jean de Strelecki (assistant Mona Hofmann’s step-father) unveils his “Chief White Eagle” sculpture on Mt. Strella in Agoura, California. (Above the intersection of Lewis and Agoura Roads.) [Part of The Great Dictator is filmed nearby at Lake Vista and Laguna Circle Drives, Agoura Hills.]
“Check mailed April 27….Pay no attention artist letter people who count enthusiastic about your coming. Please reply wire collect my letter April 30 regarding panel sizes.” (Pflueger to Rivera telegram)
“Didn’t receive check” “Agree with 1276 Square Feet” (Rivera to Pflueger telegram) [This is adding 2 half panels]
“Money will be sent to Misrachi by telegram today.” Pflueger gives Rivera suggestions for an overland route to SF. (P to R)
“Paulette: Father Sues for Support,” (SF Chron, 5.9.40) [as of this date she’s resting at Arrowhead Springs]
J.A. Ormond, Secretary of the BOE letter to WPA with a Request for Allocation No. 226. [Is this the allocation to cover Rivera’s other workers? Niendorff and Packard will be paid by Fair. See 11.22.40 for their termination notice.]
Winston Churchill replaces Chamberlain as Prime Minister of Britain.
Germany invades France and the Lowlands.
Sometime close to mid-month, movie star Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin’s wife, goes to Mexico on PanAm Airlines with her mother and a LOOK magazine photographer, Earl Theisen, to stay at the Hotel La Reforma. Though this is a publicity junket, Paulette is trying to, hopefully, get her portrait painted by Diego Rivera. This idea had been planted in her head by George Gershwin in 1937, when he met her at a party that Edward G. Robinson threw for composer Igor Stravinsky. Gershwin, who had visited with Diego and Frida in November 1935, had fallen for Goddard immediately, as did many others upon meeting her (ask Diego). She has finished her work on Chaplin’s The Great Dictator in which she co-starred. [The Trotsky assassination attempt episode will happen in the second week of her stay per the second of the articles in LOOK, July 30.]
HOY article, El Viaje de Diego Rivera, says he will go to SF to paint a mural about Panamericanism, not to prepare the Almazan revolution, not to testify to Dies, not to buy munitions!
20 men disguised as policemen, including Siqueiros, try to kill Trotsky firing into his bedroom with Thompson submachine guns.
Holland and Belgium surrender to Nazis.
[In Five Days in London, May 1940 author John Lukacs makes a case for May 24-28; “Then and there Adolph Hitler came closest to winning the Second World War, his war.”]
GGIE’s second season opens.
Rivera had been denounced in Mexican press by Union of Workers in the Sugar Industry who accuse him of joining the Martin Dies Comm. (Comm. On Un-American Activities.) “To provoke disturbance in Mexico.” (SF Chron, “Around the Art Galleries,” 5/26/40) [No record of Rivera testifying to Dies Committee per their Minutes; he refused because they would not let him testify in Washington, DC, only in Austin, TX. He did testify to U.S. Consular Official McGregor in Mexico.]
“Diego Rivera….suggested today that the United States offer a haven to Leon Trotsky.” (Mexico City newspaper quoted in FBI files on 5.30.40)
Dunkirk evacuation of British troops starts.
“One night, several days later, a platoon of policemen…cordoned off my studio in San Angel” [Tuesday May 28] and Paulette Goddard helped “rescue” him. (Autobio, p. 139.) Goddard had moved to the San Angel Inn (see May 15 photo), across the street from Rivera’s studio, most likely to facilitate sitting for her portrait.
He will procure an amparo (habeas corpus) to protect himself from arrest or questioning. (FBI file) [He’s in hiding from approximately May 28 – June 4, i.e. 7-8 days.]
[See Goddard’s versions of the “rescue” in: Paulette, Opposite Attraction; Modern Screen magazine (10.41), & Look magazine (7.16.40 & 7.30.40 issues.)]
Date on Rivera protest delivered “mysteriously” to La Prensa.
In Mexico City, Rivera called U.S. Consulate to obtain a border-crossing card to enter U.S. He met with U.S. Consular Official McGregor at his lawyer, Erby Swift’s, house. Swift and Rivera decide to get permit to leave Mexico from Rivera’s friend, the governor of Tamaulipas from where he could fly to Brownsville, (“The Strange Case…“) [Cuidad Victoria, the Tamaulipas state capital, is 300 miles from Mexico City and 200 miles from Brownsville.]
Diego’s chauffer was arrested today at the Casa Estudio in San Angel when police with a warrant searched the house. (Chronology docs)
Alden Clark, Executive Secretary of the United American Artists, Local 88, claims “alleged discrimination” because “some artists are to receive remuneration…while others…without recompense.” in a letter to Pflueger. (Pflueger files)
“I am delayed in leaving for the Golden Gate Exposition and extreme annoyed by the fact.” Rivera’s airmail letter to Pflueger requests immediate notice to the American Consul in Mexico of the situation and contractual commitment. He also says to write him at his attorney: Mr. David Olvera, Ave. Juarez 83, Mexico, D.F.
U.S. Consulate issues Rivera a “border i.d. card” and inform the State Department the next day, but wait until the last minute to tell the FBI Special Agent in Charge in Mexico City, perhaps to repay Rivera. (“The Strange Case…” p.10)
“Rivera, from his hiding place in the city, has today published a blistering attack on the police and the government generally.” (FBI files)
“Arrest Resisted by Diego Rivera.” (LA Times, 5.30.40)
Pflueger sends a letter to the Hon. James B. Stewart, US Consul General in Mexico requesting help getting Rivera out. (Pflueger files) [But George P. Shaw is the American Consul]
Leah Brenner, Rivera’s secretary, receives a threatening note “to the effect that Mexico was damned dangerous for Trotskists, Riveristas, Almazanistas and yankee capitalists. A wird to the wise is suficint. Signed XX ” (“The Strange Case…“)
Rivera’s amparo expires at 11:00 a.m. (FBI files) [see May 27]
Reception at Treasure Island’s Fine Arts Bldg for Pflueger.
Rivera says he was cleared. Paulette Goddard turns 29.
He applies to the Secretario de Governacion (sic)…for a tourist permit. (FBI files)
Paris hit by 1,100 bombs from 200 Reich planes.
Diego Rivera flies from Mexico City (wireless to NY Times)
Arrives at Brownsville Pan-American airport at 10:35 a.m.
Taken into immigration office [Immigration and Naturalization Service per FBI] and questioned by three local immigration inspectors per D.W. Brewster, inspector in charge. Admitted under bond for one year. (Brownsville Herald, 6.5.40.)
“Rivera arrived by plane…after passing before a board…$500…’I suppose’, he told me, ‘that this was to guarantee that I wouldn’t overthrow the government of the United States’…..hasty sale of some watercolors to perhaps Paulette Goddard,” (ELP, notes, 7.58 Implies P.G. was with him & paid for bond. See ELP letter of early 1941: 1st draft says “actress friend” bought paintings.)
Arrives in San Antonio on the Braniff 8:25 p.m. flight. [Later than expected due to extra delay in Brownsville.] (FBI files)
Left San Antonio for Dallas tonight on Braniff Airlines with Paulette Goddard (who motored from Monterey, per newspaper account. “June 4: Paulette left Mexico City today with her mother and is driving back to Hollywood…,” (Harriet Parsons in SF Exam, 6.5.40) Is this a cover story? Where’s her Mom? What’s ETD Dallas?
Geo. P Shaw, American Consul in Mexico City wires Pflueger and sends air mail confirmation that Rivera left this morning. (Pflueger files)
“Diego Rivera will paint at Exposition,” (6.4.40 U.P. San Antonio) (Chron. 6.5.40)
British complete Dunkirk evacuation of 340,000 troops.
Chaplin re-writes “Final Speech” of Dictator in light of the Nazi invasion of France and imminent fall of Paris.
Rivera arrives in Burbank’s Union Air terminal with Paulette. She departs for home and he talks to reporters during one-hour layover. (N.Y. Times, 6.6.40)
[Photo of Rivera and Goddard leaving American Airlines plane in Burbank (Call Bulletin article/picture) & photo dated 6.6.40 of Rivera alone. (SFPL Photo Archives) Another photo of Rivera & Goddard at airport café implies she didn’t leave immediately.
Rivera wires Pflueger at 2:57 p.m. from Burbank that he’s arriving at 5:00 p.m. (Pflueger files)
Arrives on United Airlines tonight at SF’s Mills Field. He says attempt made on his life three days after attempt on Trotsky by Stalinist and Nazi agitators.” (N.Y. Times, 6.6.40) Photo of Rivera and stewardess Joan Denton. (United Airlines photo in SFPL Photo)
Rivera is picked up by Pflueger and Albert Bender. Taken to the Fairmont Hotel where he has the unpleasant “tie episode.” (Autobio, p. 144)
“Rivera starts mural” (Chron, 6.5.40)
“All’s quiet on the Rivera, Paulette Goddard saved his life, he says” (Chron, 6.6.40)
[Ironically, her last husband-to-be Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, will see Rivera & PG June 10.]
He had been safely hidden in the home of his American lawyer (Erby Swift) in Mexico. Rivera says Lombardo Toledano is responsible for Trotsky attempt. [Cited as ally of the Muralists when Toledano was Director of Prep. School in 1922 per Autobio, p.78]
“Mr. Rivera will start work on his Mural today” (NY Times, 6.6.40)
“Rivera Tells of Mexico’s 5th Columns” (SF Exam)
Memo to Pflueger from Heinz Berggruen saying that Life magazine has wired staff photographer Peter Stackpole in LA to shoot full Art in Action photos with emphasis on Rivera. He’ll come up this weekend, start on Monday through Tuesday or Wednesday. [This may be delayed. Peter may come up in late June/July because of stage of Rivera’s works shown in photos. At this time Peter may shoot photos of his father Ralph, which appear in the October 21, 1940 issue of Life magazine.] George Creel would interview Rivera on KPO on the next regular Wednesday program. “Arrangements being made for news reels to be taken.” [No record of interview.]
Editorial “1,000 a Day: Ford’s Plan for War Planes” (SF Exam)
[Ford decries red tape that prevents him from meeting goals. He says he needs men like Lindbergh, not government theorists.]
“Latino Fear Nazi’s Grip”, “S.F. Fair tops year ago record 12th day = 613,188 vs. 610,765 (L.A. Times, 6.6.40, p.14), also, [Lindbergh and Ford decry “that element” that’s trying to get us into the war, referring to Jews.]
Pflueger’s Federal Building opening ceremony at GGIE.
“Mexico Plans Congress Call” (To Curb Movement of Aliens), (L.A. Times, Part 1, p.8.)
“General says Mexico with U.S.” [Gen. Melquiades Angulo, Minister of Communications and Public Works in San Antonio], (L.A. Times Part 1, p.8.)
“Paulette Goddard wins lead opposite Boyer”, L.A. Times [Hold Back the Dawn – 1941 *** ½ per Movies on TV/Videocass. Rather exceptional romantic melodrama with a seedy Boyer desperately trying to marry a vulnerable American (Olivia De Havilland) in order to enter U.S. from Mexico.]
Confessions of a Nazi Spy re-released at Warners”, (L.A. Times.) [With added footage of Nazi actions. Rivera will reference this movie in the mural.]
Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford say mysterious force trying to force U.S. into War. (L.A. Times)
“Antes de partir de México, Diego Rivera dió palabra de casamiento a su bella modelo, Nieves Orozco“. [Fotografia de Nieves Orozco junto a un cuadro de Rivera. Excelsior, primera sección p. 13 ] (INBA files at Centro Nacional de las Artes) “Before leaving Mexico, Diego Rivera gave word of his (upcoming) wedding to his beautiful model, Nieves Orozco.” Note: Nieves will later relate to us that the arrival of Paulette Goddard erased this option.
A Heinz Berggruen press release says:
“After its completion, the mural, which is twenty two feet high and forty feet wide (sic), will find its permanent place in the library of the new Junior College of San Francisco. The mural will be the center section of a wall decoration of 250 feet which Rivera hopes to finish after he has painted the central part at the Exposition.” [This is the first indication that the mural is to encompass all the interior wall of the proposed library reading room. The central part, already 45 feet long, hasn’t yet been enlarged to 5 panels wide. In less than a week, Pflueger will be ordering more panels.]
Edison, the Man is showing at the St. Francis Theater! (Possible source of mural imagery.)
Abe Lincoln in Illinois with Raymond Massey opens at the Clay! (Possible source of mural imagery.)
“For the weekend of this first week in San Francisco, I was invited to L.A., to the home of Charlie Chaplin. My hostess was my old friend, then Chaplin’s wife, Paulette Goddard. I was elated not only to see Paulette again…” (Autobio, p.146) [Hadn’t seen her for four days, after only knowing her a few weeks. Charlie is very busy with Dictator. It is probably at this time that Paulette will give Diego publicity stills from The Great Dictator, which will become the basis for the movie imagery in the mural.]
[Among invitees to Paulette’s tea are: Dolores del Rio, Orson Wells, Anita Loos, the King Vidors, and the Lewis Milestones –he directed All Quiet On The Western Front] (Per Harriet Parsons, SF Exam, 6.8.40)
Goddard says Chaplin didn’t like her friends and Rivera had to go stay at Dolores Del Rio’s house, (“Opposite Attraction“, p.273)
[“Confused by her lack of a film career and controlled by her new love of Orson [Welles], Dolores moved out of Gibbons’ house and asked for a divorce in March 1940. She and her mother bought a home at 1455 Stone Canyon Drive in the new subdivision Bel Air, filling up with stars and moguls.” austinfilm.org]
All This and Heaven, Too to premier at Carthy Circle next Thursday. The play stars Bette Davis and Charles Boyer. (Edward G. Robinson, Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin, Dolores Del Rio to attend.)
El Greco’s “Saint Peter” shown at GGIE. Lee Hersch litho/oils art show reviewed, with Rivera cited as calling him “a good painter,” (L.A. Times)
Dolores Del Rio throws party for Diego at the “Beachcombers”. [Don the Beachcomber].
Later Edward G. Robinson hosts some guests (PG, CC, Marlene Dietrich, E.M. Remarque and Orson Welles) at his house to see his Rivera paintings. (L.A. Times, 6.16.40, p. D6)
Rivera’s sends note to assistant Mona Hofmann to pick him up at 10 p.m. from Chaplin’s; implies his assistants are in LA. [Did they drive him down there? Assistant Arthur Niendorff has an L.A. address.] (ELP files)
Rivera leaves this Tuesday morning for SF (per above L.A. Times article).
Rivera sends note to Dolores Del Rio from SF on Hotel California (580 Geary) stationary. (Correspondencia Diego Rivera)
“We were still living in a hotel-Diego, Bettina and I-on separate floors-still compiling the materials and instruments to start that enormous project.” [Mona Hofmann notes (transcription of red pages)]
Note:First concrete evidence that Bettina Whitman (Ely de Vescovi) worked on the project, although we knew that her butanol/water concoction to delay the drying of the fresco plaster was used.]
Later moves into small Telegraph Hill apartment (Autobio, p. 145)
38 Calhoun per 10.18.40 letter to Jay Lofton in ELP files.
42 Calhoun Terrace per marriage license December 5.
49 Calhoun per Frida: A Bio., p.296.
66 Calhoun is Richard Neutra’s “Sidney Kahn” house.
[No record of KPO radio interview and news reels. See 6.6.40 memo Berggruen to Pflueger.]
Nazis march into Paris.
All Quiet on the Western Front is shown at the GGIE (Treasure Island 1939-1940). [Rivera had just seen author Erich Maria Remarque on Monday and the movie may be a source of WWI imagery, though the gas suit drawing is from the never painted/canceled 1934 GM mural.]
This first 3-panel-wide drawing includes Dudley Carter. Therefore it was drawn soon after Rivera arrived on June 5.
Pflueger and Rivera have decided to augment the size of the mural in the past few days to a 5-panel width.
Pflueger verbal order to Soule Steel for four additional steel framed panels (2 square panels and 2 half-height panels)
Pflueger letter to Hermann Bosch instructing him to lath/plaster four additional panels.
Pflueger letter to G.W. Thomas Drayage and Rigg Co., Inc. accepting their proposal for erecting (4) steel panels, increasing width of mural by 14’9″ on each end.
Pflueger letter to Monahan confirming their conversation and saying he has ordered what is needed to expand the mural.
United Rubber Workers of America Local #60 passes Resolution protesting the slight to SF artists by paying “an highly publicized artist.” Chemical Workers Local 266 does as well. (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to George P. Shaw, American Consul in Mexico thanking him for his notification on June 4th that Rivera had left Mexico.
[Date on photo of Rivera with beautiful Indian model, Nieves Orozco, “who will accompany him to T.I.” Was photo used this date? Also, undated version of this photo labeled “GGIE” on the reverse. Photo was taken in Mexico when Pflueger was there. (SFPL Photo Archives)] She is the topless attendant in Paulette’s portrait. “Nieves” is also a model for Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Miguel Covarrubias.
Pflueger confirming letter to Soule Steel for four additional steel framed panels, duplicates of the present panels.
HOY cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) shows a Mexican looking in a store window with different shirts: Tipo Benito, Estilo Adolfito, Azul Falange, and Rojo Purga. [Refers to the dilemma of Mexican public as to which side to back; note there is no U.S. shirt as an option.]
Goddard and Chaplin feuding over her decision to appear opposite Fred Astaire in Second Chorus before The Great Dictator is released. (SF Exam, p.32)
“Capital’s War Bloc Hit by Lindbergh’ [He says US can’t pursue pro-Allies policy without becoming involved in war with Germany, “the world’s most powerful military machine.” Democratic leadership moves to reply to his charges.]
“Russia Seizes Lithuania” (SF Exam, 6.16.40, front page)
“Preliminary Sketch Only to Please Commission,” (SF Exam, Sect.D, p.6) [“real” painting gets done on wall]
Goddard to host party at Ciro’s to announce engagement of Dolores del Rio and Orson Welles. (SF Chron, 6.15.40, p.32)
Many pictures of Diego working on the drawing are shot in this space. Pflueger had “daylight” bulbs installed to help Rivera’s poor eyes. This is one of the places Diego slept. After Trotsky was assassinated, Rivera wanted to be a “moving target.”
Bottoroff letter to Pflueger stating that Monohan has authorized the expenditures for mural expansion, i.e., steel frames (Soule Steel), erection (Thomas Drayage), lathing/plastering (Hermann Bosch ), lumber (Smith Lumber), labor (maintenance crew.) (Pflueger files) [See Oct.15]
Emmy Lou writes home from NY, where she’s looking for work.
USSR occupies Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. [Part of Non-Aggression Pact deal with Germany. Diego in his Hoy article about Finland at the end of 1939, explained the need for a buffer.]
Date on the Pflueger plans for the City College gyms. (The plans don’t annotate whether the bas-reliefs of athletes on the two gyms were designed by Sargent Johnson, but later TLP note confirms it was Johnson.)
“U.S. Must Stay Out of War, Willkie Says” (SF Exam, p.11)
[But, “He has frequently advocated sending munitions to the allies.” In mural on the left seated at table, fellow in blue suit looking up at diver has Willkie button on his lapel.]
Pflueger letter to Mathew Barnes saying he is on the payroll as of next Monday and should contact Rivera for his plans. [First choice for plasterer, Clifford Wight, was in England.]
List of Assistants:
[“Matt Barnes…was the chief plasterer, aided by Niendorff. ……There were eight or ten assistants. Mona Hoffman(sic) became very ill (TB treated by Dr. Eloesser per AAA Interview), and Irene Bojus (sic) went to Mexico, shortly after my return in August….Arthur Niendorf(sic) and I remained the chief painting assistants throughout the rest of the mural.” ELP: Notes, July, 1958, “In charge of color grinding was a man by the name of Holmes Coates” & “I got him a job on the mural. His name was Wayne Lammers” & “Thelma Johnson Street…Afro American…..for a month or so…she painted on it.” & “assistant plasterer…Milo Anderson” & “older man –Schwartz? Schmitt?” [ELP AAA Interview, May, 1964.]
Note: ELP doesn’t mention Peter Lowe, Mine Okubo… [We also know from Marshall McLennan that Johnny Cumming was an assistant. E-mail file: Rivera; Research; Mural Images]
“Knudsen Replies to Ford in PlaneRow” (SF Exam, p.12)
[Ford will only make airplanes for US defense, not for Britain (who is fighting Nazi Germany).]
Watercolor by Rivera of Shasta Dam conveyor belt, the world’ longest, used to move rock aggregrate for the concrete. Heinz Berggruen drove Diego around to these sites.
“… around town…at Lupo’s, Diego Rivera, the muralist” (SF Exam, p.18) [Does go out in public.]
Memo via diplomatic pouch to Washington, DC re: Rivera. (FBI files) [Information totally redacted.]
Emmy Lou’s mom writes her in New York that she saw Rivera at the Fair yesterday. He was even wearing a tie. (ELP files, archives)
“Francis Lederer says he’ll fly to Canada on business this weekend instead of to Mexico to see estranged wife Margo.” (SF Exam, p.30)
HOY cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) has Uncle Sam gesturing to Hitler across the “pond.” [At this point the Nazis have conquered just about everyone and only Great Britain remains to be mopped up. The issue of what happens then is a big question for the U.S.]
Chaplin films “Final Speech” of Dictator on 458th day.
Japan Day at GGIE (ref. for: Japanese parade in GGIE DVD.)
“Sect Member Tarred By Mob” [Jehovah Witness advocating peace is tarred and feathered by Parco, WY mob.]
“Mexico Support Pledged by Envoy” [Dr. Francisco Najera, Mexican ambassador to US, pledges full support to US if it is invaded.]
Joseph Kennedy, US ambassador to Britain, urges Red Cross aid. (SF Exam, 6.24.40)
Picasso: Forty Years of His Art opened at the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA) at the War Memorial Building. GUERNICA was on display in the Central Court until July 22. See Aug. 1939 for first visit to SFMA. (SFMOMA library)
[The show originated at New York’s MOMA and was a joint effort with the Art Institute of Chicago. The NY version had three hundred forty-four works, but show traveled in various versions. One of the works shows a dead child on his back with his hands up. Probably, Picasso was referring to Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin (the Odessa steps scene), which is referenced in panel 2.]
“Ford Air Engine Deal Collapses”, “Ready to Build Planes for U.S., Ford Declares” (SF Exam, p.3)
Hoy cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) shows Stalin as the Mago de “Hoz” y Martillo (Wizard of Sickle and Hammer) nailing neighboring countries with a Nazi hammer.
Wendell Willkie nominated.
[“…and his internationalist views were in direct opposition to the powerful isolationist wing of the Republican Party.” “Described …as a ‘shaggy bear’, Willkie stood over six feet tall and weighed 220 pounds.” No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin, p.141.—is this why he appealed to Rivera?]
Paul Klee dies. (Chronology of 20th C.)
“’Don’t talk to the pilot’ was Pablo Picasso’s retort when asked the ‘meaning’ of one of his pictures.” Photos of some of the paintings in the Picasso show. (SF Chron, This World section, p.24)
Editorial The Political Parade says Ford should be given opportunity to build planes for U.S., not Great Britain. (SF Exam, editorial page)
“The first person outside the official studio family to see “The Dictator” is Meredith Willson, who has been invited by C. Chaplin to help score the film.” (SF Exam, p.15) [Willson is from SF and will later write The Music Man musical.]
Rivera sends a letter to Albert Bender thanking him for the Chinese box with a collection of ties and refers to “the discrimination you witnessed on my arrival to my marvelous San Francisco.” (ELP Bender file) [See “The Enormous Necktie” in My Art, My Life.]
“Jack and Master of All Art” is Alfred Frankenstein’s revue of the Picasso show is the first of two articles. (SF Chron, This World section, p.24)
“Mexican Election. Almazan Is Behind; A Revolt Threatens” (SF Chron, 7.9.40, p.4) [Rivera is backing Almazan, who will lose]
Emmy Lou Packard writes her mother from South Norwalk, CT. on a visit from NYC. (Refining the date she came to SF, but some copies of her letters are not dated or illegible.)
Rivera meets Helen Crlenkovich at the Terrace Plunge of the Fairmont Hotel. “Miss Crlenkovich will be the single figure included in the mural to represent the great American Institution of Sports – or whatever thing Diego may say she will represent.” (Memo for Mrs. M. Hammergren from Pflueger, 6.10.40)
Editorial supports Joseph P. Kennedy as Democratic presidential nominee. (SF Exam, p.1)
Photo of Rivera painting the top of the central icon in sinopia. [It’s about 5 weeks since he arrived]
Letter from Pflueger to Leah Brenner saying he has left the letter she sent with Rivera.
Letter from Pflueger to Crlenkovich repaying the money she has advanced for enlargements of photos of herself for Rivera’s use.
Pflueger memo for Mrs. M. Hammergren asking her to do follow up.
[Pflueger had talked to Ottorino Ronchi of the SF Art Commission about approving the drawing on the wall, instead of a complete sketch. See 6.16.40.]
HOY article on Wendell Willkie’s nomination at the Republican Convention of the week past. [Campaign button appears in mural]
“The Critic Finishes ‘Forty Years of Art’” Frankenstein writes about GUERNICA and says Picasso is still in the south of France. (SF Chron, This World section, p.24)
Diego receives letter from Irene Bohus that he shows to Mona Hofmann. (Mona’s papers) Irene will arrive tomorrow with her mother and with certain expectations about her and Diego’s future.
Irene Bohus (twenty six years old) arrives in SF from NY, (SF Chron, 7.18.40, p.14)
[Her image will appear in the preliminary drawing as the female painter on the right side. She only stayed through early August and ELP will replace her for the finished painting.]
Rivera has contacted her in NY and asked her to come to SF to work on mural. She is of Hungarian extraction like Frida’s paternal grandparents. (Rick Tejada-Flores interview in ELP files)
She is probably whom Mona refers to in her Portrait of a Wall, who shows up pregnant, expecting Rivera to marry her. See June 8 for reference to Nieves. Frida will later paint Irene’s name on the wall in the Casa Azul.]
First Look magazine article “Vacation in Mexico” with Paulette Goddard.
[Article has rumor that Rivera will marry Irene Bohus, who is shown simultaneously painting a portrait of Goddard and Nieves.]
“Fair Closing Definitely Set September 29,” (SF Exam, p.11)
Goddard remarking upon an Errol Flynn interview on South America says, “I found practically the same conditions in Mexico and (SF Exam, p.13) I feel we should lose no time in winning the confidence and friendship of the Mexicans. The Nazi agents have been at work…” “Diego Rivera…could tell stories that are really frightening.”
FDR re-nominated for third term.
4 p.m. lecture, Latin American Viewpoint Towards the Pan American Union, at the GGIE. (SF Chron, p.14)
“Busier Program for Exposition.” Yesterday Irene de Bohun (sic) went to work for Diego Rivera.
“Meanwhile slight confusion attended another part of Art in Action when a 25 ton, 7 & ½ foot diameter redwood log, scheduled for sculpting, failed to arrive from Santa Rosa-the giant having proved unwieldly for a small truck to cope with. In a larger truck it will arrive this morning when Arts Plaza officials will order demolition of the palace wall, to get the log inside.” (SF Exam, p.7) Having finished Big Horn Mountain Ram too quickly, Dudley Carter needs to find another project because the Fair is on till September 29.
Japan Tourists Night.
“The Palace of Fine Arts suffered a rift in it door-and its austerity-yesterday 24 foot, 25 ton redwood log, 7 & 1/2 foot diameter log was trucked to the building to be set up in the Art in Action show. The log will be the ‘Goddess of the Forest’ some day when Sculptor Dudley Carter, who works with a double bladed axe, gets through with it.” (SF Exam.)
HOY photo layout of Paulette and her hairdos.
“Death Threat on Trotsky Reported” (AP-SF Exam, 7.22.40, front page)
[Home converted into veritable fortress. Three new guardhouses built and walls heightened.]
Arthur Dietrich, German attaché, expelled from Mexico for propaganda activity, left for Tokyo today from Manzanillo. (SF Chron, p.3)
“Simon Bolivar/Pan American Unity Day” at GGIE. (Treasure Island 1939-1940)
Public reception to honor Rivera, 10 p.m. to midnight. Completed preliminary drawing (22×75 feet) for fresco to be shown. Scaffolding down for preview, (SF Chron, 7.24.40, p.26 and SF Exam, 7.24.40, p.12)
[See Puchinelli guide for photo of drawing with Irene Bohus in place of ELP, no Pflueger, no Lynn Wagner, and a Stalin without the bloody pick ax among the differences with final mural. The “movie panel”, however, is correct.]
[11.22.48: ELP gave “Incomplete cartoon for Rivera Mural at Treasure Island” to the San Francisco Museum of Art”…pending decision of Accessions Committee.”]
“Ford Day: at GGIE. Edsel Ford present. (Treasure Island 1939-1940) [Did he visit Rivera? They had a cordial relationship when Rivera did the DIA mural.]
“Pan American: U.S. Position Gains New Adherents” (SF Chron, front page)
[“The American drafts concern the bases for economic co-operation…”]
“Some Things to Do at the Fair…view the hefty Diego Rivera forging ahead with his mural,” (SF Chron, p.5)
“Diego Rivera Previews a Mural at the Fair,” “Donated his time and talent, having only his expenses paid by the Exposition,” (SF Chron, p.9) [photo: he’s drawing the Nazi hand below Lederer]
HOY cover (Arias Bernal) has Stalin as a magician with a Nazi hammer pounding dolls labeled: Polonia, Rumania, et al. “El Mago de “Hoz” y Martillo.” (A pun: The wizard of “sickle” and hammer) A dead dove of peace lies under the table.
“Mexico Has Radio (German) 5th Column” (SF Chron, 7.28.40, p.8)
Leonardo’s Horse and Rider drawing is “star performer” of Italian old master show at GGIE per Alfred Frankenstein. (SF Chron, p.24) [Leonardo Da Vinci is one of Rivera’s favorites.]
Soap Box Derby (Use for ref: GGIE DVD)
Life magazine has layout with pictures of Mona Hofmann, Rivera working on small scale drawing of mural, and “sculpting” with turkey bones and long shot of “Art in Action.”
Russia invades Rumania. [EGR’s homeland]
“Henry Ford will soon undertake mass production of military airplane engines ‘on his own’” (SF Exam, p.4)
Look magazine article on Paulette Goddard’s “Adventure in Mexico,” second installment.
Helen Crlenkovich is swimming in the Hotel Del Mar Aquacade (Monterey Peninsula). [It copies the GGIE’s Billy Rose Aquacade, but everyone is an amateur so they can retain their Olympic eligibility. However, there will be no 1940 nor 1944 Olympics.] (SF Exam, p.22)
“Education of US on Latin America Urged.” (SF Exam, p.5)
Sometime this month Emmy Lou Packard will come from NY to become primary assistant to Rivera. (She’ll be here by August 20-21 when Trotsky is assassinated.)
Diego will give her a copy of Diego Rivera, His Life And Times by Bertram Wolfe, which he will autograph before he leaves, “’to Emmy Lou, my collaborator when I return to San Francisco.’ But he never returned.” (ELP AAA Interview, May, 1964)
Irene Bohus, (who arrived July 15), will leave for Mexico to marry (not immediately) Orlando Weber of Weber Dry Color company.
[She’ll be back in town Sept. 25 for the cocktail party with Paulette. The photos of Edward G. Robinson at the Fair are taken while Irene is still here, but before ELP arrives, ELP AAA Interview, May, 1964]
The Dudley Carter Ram is finished per photos.
August issue of Architect and Engineer has column on Mural.
Editorial “Time to Act” says some WPA art projects are Communist impregnated. “We think there is ‘plenty of time’ to nip ‘fifth column’ treason.” (SF Exam, p.8) [Example of fear of communism]
Dr. Deutsch, VP and Provost of the Univ. of Calif. said before 600 members of the Commonwealth Club that the US must aid Britain and enforce the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America.” (SF Chron, 8.3.40)
“The Man I Married Takes You Inside the German Reich” (SF Chron, p.8)
[Francis Lederer stars in movie that opened yesterday at the Paramount. He plays-not very well according to the reviewer -a man who returns to and joins Nazi Germany.]
HOY article, “Stravinsky En Mexico.” [Goddard met Gershwin at the party Edward G. Robinson threw for Stravinsky in 1937. Now Stravinsky has fled Europe]
Robert Montgomery, film star, will show “films showing the last hours of democratic France” at Palace Hotel. (SF Chron)
Lindbergh gives radio speech at Soldier Stadium in Chicago urging co-operation with Germans if they win.
“Red Plot to Slay High U.S. Leaders Bared in L.A. Quiz”
“U.S. Pact With Victor Urged By Lindbergh” (SF Exam, front page)
“Lindbergh Top 5th Columnist, Senator says” (SF Exam, front page)
“Rivera Mural Which May Bring Storm”, (SF Chron, p.17)
[Article and SF Exam photo of finished drawing for “movie” panel, however Stalin has only a knife, no pick. That will change after the Trotsky assassination Aug. 20]
Mrs. Edwin R. Sheldon, BOE member, says there are many protests about the dictators in the mural. (SF Call)
Battle of Britain begins. (This air war pits the Nazis vs. British.)
Date on photograph of Diego Rivera, Edward G. Robinson, and L.A. art dealer Sam Salz visiting Diego’s studio behind the mural.
Photo courtesy of Marc Salz
HOY layout with Paulette and hat.
JFK tells of steps to war in “Why England Slept.” (SF Exam, Sect. 1, p.17)
“Nazi Praises Lindbergh’s war Talk” (SF Exam, front page)
“100 Called In L.A. Dies Quiz,” “Francis Lederer….denied any connection with Communism.” (SF Exam, 8.15.40, p.6)
SF Art Commission informs Board of Education that it has declined to act until BOE “officially advises this Commission as to your acceptance of the proposed fresco.”
In L.A. Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March deny being commies. “Tonight Dies, his family, and assistants left for San Francisco, where he expects to remain until August 31…” (SF Chron, 8.18.40, Sect 1, p.12)
“Ford to Build 4,000 Plane Engines for U.S. Planes” (SF Exam, p.4)
Dies and Family visit the GGIE. (May be as close as he and Rivera ever get.)
Dies demands deportation of Harry Bridges. (SF Exam, 8.19.40)
“Mexico Day” at the GGIE. More than 100, 000 come, setting a Sunday attendance record. (SF Exam, 8.19.40, p.11)
“Nazis Place Ban Upon All U.S. Movies” and seek “Co-operation of Italy to Outlaw American films; Revenge on Hollywood.” “Britain Proffers Friendly Hand To Russia.” (SF Exam from Chicago Daily-News)
Vichy France dissolves Masonic Lodges. (Bob Seward’s Timeline)
“Dies Charges Spy Rings In S.F.” [German, Italian, and Russian], (SF Exam, 8.20.40)
“Dictators Peril U.S. Envoy Bullitt Warns” (SF Exam, p.8) [US ambassador to France says US is in as much peril as France was a year ago.]
Trotsky attacked in Mexico City by Stalinists.
[“his assailant, at first identified as Francois Jackson, a 24 year old protégé of Trotsky’s, was later said to be Jacques Mornard Vanden, a native of Teheran, Persia…” (SF Exam, 8.21.40, front page) The Spanish assassin’s real name, Ramon Mercader, will not be announced until Aug. 22, 1953! -13 years after Trotsky’s death (NY Times, 8.23.53, p.47)]
Asaltar Los Cielos (Storm the Skies) is a J.L. Lopez Linares & Javier Rioyo 2006 Cinemateca documentary about Mercader.
James Cagney to testify before Dies. (SF Chron, 8.19.40, p.10)
“2 City Departments Dodge Decision on Rivera Mural” (SF Exam, 8.21.40, p.3)
[Secretary Joseph Dyer of the art commission said his group wanted to know of the BOE’s position on approval before acting. The BOE decided to go about its business without deciding.]
“Trotsky Dies; Lays Slaying To Stalin” “Assassin Screams, Begs For Death, Too; American Girl Grilled by Police” (SF Exam, 8.22.40, front page
[He died in Police Hospital at 7:25 p.m., Aug. 21 from piolet (ice-climbing ax) wound to head.]
“U.S. Man for Trotsky Role” (SF Exam, 8.22.40, p.2)
[James P. Cannon, secretary of the Socialist Labor Party (US) is likely heir to head of the Fourth International—they have been footing the bill for the Coyoacan house per Socialism On Trial by Cannon.]
Rivera interview re: Trotsky assassination. (SF Chron.)
Detail of Shasta Dam tower with bare plaster below. (Moulin photo in SFPL Photo Archives)
Photo of Rivera holding small drawings for the lower panels on either side of the central panel and photo of just the drawings. (SFPL Photo Archives)
Letter to the editor: “I was deeply shocked by this brutally violent panel…Doesn’t Mr. Rivera know anything at all about modern education, or even psychology?” (SF Exam)
Meredith Willson will perform score of Dictator here in SF. (SF Call Bulletin)
“Rivera Waits Attack By Trotsky Enemies” (SF Exam)
[Frida called Diego via long distance telephone a few hours after Trotsky hit. Rivera says note found on perpetrator alleging he killed Trotsky due to deep disillusionment is a ruse to deflect attention from Stalin. Rivera says he’s trying to cancel divorce because it makes Frida, a German citizen.]
Per Mrs. Packard, Diego stayed in Walter’s garden studio [773 Cragmont, Berkeley, CA.] for two weeks after Trotsky’s assassination. (UCB Walter Packard interview, page 254.)
Rivera has many incoming/outgoing calls re: Trotsky per snoopy GGIE phone operator. Mona says she’s ill. (FBI files)
Around these days Frida is interrogated by the police for over 12 hours and with her sister Cristina spends two days in jail. (Frida, page 297)
She is questioned because Trotsky had lived in her home (and had been her lover) and because she and Cristina had a meal with Ramon Mercader in the Casa Azul.
Mercader had first approached Frida in Paris in early 1939 trying to get an entre for approaching Trotsky. He was the Stalinist “Plan B.” The Siqueiros attempt on May 24th had been the separate and compartmentalized “Plan A.”
“Diego Rivera Guarded at Fair; Attack Feared” (SF Exam, p.5)
[Precautions in effect for two weeks it was disclosed yesterday. “logically, I have something to wait for, now.”]
Photo of Yaqui dancers with bare plaster below. (SFPL Photo Archives)
U.S. Refuses To Admit Trotsky Body For Rites” (SF Exam, p.20)
Certificate of Mexican Nationality No. 536 expedited in favor of Frida Kahlo. (Divorced from Diego, she has no Mexican citizenship, which is passed from the father’s side. Guillermo Kahlo is a German. The Certificate is sold at Sotheby’s auction 12.02.14, Lot 52.)
Frida will apply for a non-immigrant visa to the U.S. (document p/o DeYoung Museum’s Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibition in 2020. Used courtesy of Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Archives. Bank of Mexico, Fiduciary in the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum Trust.)
“Stalin Murder Ring Operating in U.S. Bared” (SF Exam, front page)
Trotsky cremated in Mexico City after failed appeals to Secretary of State Cordell Hull to return the body to New York. (SF Chron, 9.1.40, p.6)
Oscar Levant & Meredith Willson appear at GGIE. (Willson worked music for Dictator. Levant had said his late friend George Gershwin had been gaga over Paulette Goddard.)
The SF City and County Federation of Women’s Clubs at their meeting today voted to ask the BOE not to accept the mural. “Mrs. Albert W. Stokes, who led the Federation campaign for sanity in art….was one of the members who led the discussion Friday.” (SF Exam, 9.2.40, p.12)
[An article on the same page tells of a tea by the Women’s clubs to honor those artists who are part of the Society for Sanity in Art.]
“Rivera Mural: Club women don’t like it.” (SF Chron)
HOY article on art show at Bellas Artes that includes a picture of Retrato del Escritor Martin Luis Guzman, a cubist work by Rivera.
Also, one of the first publicity shots of The Great Dictator (p. 27)
HOY article (p.10-19) about Trotsky, “El Asesinato de Trotsky, Lo Que “HOY” Vio y Oyo.”
(Note that the fresco plaster gets built up to 1/4″ (6 mm) over the 1″ (25 mm) Portland cement substrate, which came with the panels.)
First private audience for The Great Dictator includes Chaplin and Goddard, (Chaplin, p.505)
Dorothy Puccinelli “Conversation with Diego Rivera” (Excerpts) came out last week per Alfred Frankenstein. (SF Chron, p.28) [Mural length extended from 44 ft. to 72 ft. (sic)]
Frida arrives in San Francisco early in the month. She was grilled for two days by Mexican police in the wake of last month’s assassination of Trotsky. She spends a few days in Diego’s apartment before being admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital for over a month. [She began feeling severely ill after the first May 24, 1940 attempt on Trotsky’s life and Rivera’s subsequent departure for SF. (Frida, A Bio., p. 297-299) Dr. Eloesser in ELP interview says there was not much wrong with her.]
“Mural for Junior College Opposed” (SF Exam) [see Sept. 6]
Guardsman (City College newspaper) article by student editor Leonard Gross, defending the mural.
Posthumous HOY article, “El Super-Borgia En El Kremlin,” by Trotsky (previously published three weeks before his death in the US publication, Liberty.) Also, “El Cerebro de Trotsky.”
Rivera interview: “Art on Treasure Island,” (SF Chron)
“Nazis Deny Financing Red Militia in Mexico” (SF Exam, 9.9.40) [deny statement by Elliott Roosevelt, FDR’s son, that Germany has financed a “Red Militia” of 200,000. Any danger that confronts this country doesn’t lie all the way across the ocean.” This had been one of Rivera’s main contentions.]
Editorials on saving the Covarrubias murals and on “No Strikes in War Industries”. (SF Exam, p.6)
From St. Luke’s Hospital Frida sent a letter to her niece. (Archivo Isolda P. Kahlo in “Frida, El Circulo de Los Afectos” by Luis-Martin Lozano.)
Look articles “The Hitler Nobody Knows” and “Will There Be A U.S.-Russian Alliance?”
“Dies To Probe Link of Bund and Klan”
“Willkie, Ford Confer; 1st Major Talk Monday” (SF Exam, p.4)
[“One policeman on duty with Willkie said that Ford, whose visit was surrounded with secrecy, wore a red, white, and blue Willkie button during the conference.”]
Palace of Fine Arts Day at GGIE. This where the mural is being painted.
HOY article, “La Respuesta de Siqueiros”, a letter to the President of the Republic, defends Stalin and refers to “the eloquent degradation of Diego Rivera.”
Frida sends a long letter on St. Luke’s Hospital stationary to Anita Brenner telling her about medical problems and her relationship with Diego.
X-ray findings for Frida signed by Dr. Eloesser. (document p/o DeYoung Museum’s Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibition in 2020. Used courtesy of Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Archives. Bank of Mexico, Fiduciary in the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum Trust.)
Mexican Independence Day. “Mexican Art in Review” at the Palace Of Fine Arts on Treasure Island. (SF Chron, p.16) [Rivera represented by two big nudes, “Landscape”, and “Lupe Marin.” Orozco, Kahlo, O’Gorman, Siqueiros, Izquierdo, Castellanos, Lozano, Castillo, also.]
Matt Barnes wins SF Art Association $250 Parilia Purchase Prize for “Lake Merced.” He also won medal. [So he’s still probably plastering.] (SF Chron, 9.18.40, page 12)
Frida writes Galka Shayer on St. Luke’s Hospital stationary. She says she has no tumor nor TB, but a kidney infection and feels better than last week. Still hasn’t seen the fresco. She says Rivera feels better here than in Mexico because of its lousy attitude.
Order of Eastern Star Day (Masonic) at GGIE.
Editorial on “America First,” (SF Exam.)
Willkie shows up for “Wendell Willkie Day”, a Saturday, at the GGIE. (Treasure Island 1939-1940)
Chaplin still re-shooting, including on rebuilt Ghetto set. (The Tramp and the Dictator.)
Look magazine article by Chaplin, “I Made ‘The Great Dictator’ Because…”
Jerome Kern, Judy Garland, George M. Cohen, Irving Berlin at GGIE.
In San Francisco Paulette Goddard is the principle guest at a cocktail party that also honored Irene de Bohus, (SF Chron, and 9.27.40)
FDR halts sales of steel and iron exports to Japan.
Japan joins the Axis pact.
“Goddess of the Forest” is finished in just 30 days. Mural funds are held up because of protests. (SF Chron)
Last day of the GGIE. Dudley Carter will sign chips from “Goddess” to the delight of fairgoers. (Carter files in Posner).
Frida says that she and Diego are (sic) “conspiring remarrying.” She is still at St. Luke’s per the AP article.
Sometime while she is in the hospital, Diego will bring over Heinz Berggruen, who was acting as Diego’s interpreter and driver. Frida and Heinz will have a short affair, which keeps her occupied while Diego finishes the mural.
David Siqueiros was arrested in a hideout. He did not deny participation in the [May 24] assault [on Trotsky], but he insisted that the Mexican CP had nothing to do with it. He defended himself with a story that he wanted to produce a “psychological shock” in protest against Trotsky’s presence in Mexico but that he had not wanted to kill him. He was released on bail and disappeared from Mexico for several years. 62 (per CIA)
Pope Pius XII denounces women for bowing to the “tyranny of fashion.” (Chronology of the 20th C.)
Junior League’s Water Follies at Fairmont Plunge features Helen Crlenkovich, (SF Chron, 9.27.40)
John Lennon born in Liverpool as the war rages.
Pflueger’s notes from meeting with Abbott about the design for the mural crates. [Get panels out vertically and try to use lumber at the Fine Arts building. Per my calculations a crated large panel weighs about 3 tons!]
HOY cover (Antonio Arias-Bernal) has Hitler (in a Columbus wig) parachuting on to map, “The Discovery of America, 1492-1940.”
Life magazine has an article on the “Art in Action” costume party the previous month. Heinz Berggruen is pictured as an accordion player. Rivera paints on scaffolding as the party whirls around him. Photo of Rivera and Pflueger as Rivera. [See Sept 23]
The Great Dictator premieres in NY at the Astor and the Capitol simultaneously with Chaplin and Goddard in attendance.
Bottoroff letter to Pflueger regarding moving the mural from the Fine Arts building. Lloyd Brown asks if the mural can be moved horizontally as that would facilitate the move. [This strategy regards the danger to the mural surface.] He describes the mural framework:
“It is built of 2 x 6″ channel studs and 3’ channel purlines, with metal lath and plaster. These parts are all welded together and braced with ¼” x 1″ strap iron.”
Rivera written draft letter replying to Jay [sic Lofton] Lovestone listing reasons for not appearing at the convention of Ladies Garment Workers Union in May, i.e., no money, avoiding clutches of GPU, contractual obligations to the GGIE. In P.S. he takes Lofton to task for “helpless petit-bourgeoisie pacifism.” [Diego is advocating that the US get into the war against the Nazis, which de facto would pit the US against Stalin’s USSR, which is allied with Germany via the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact.]
An important change between this draft and tomorrow’s typed copy is that Diego removes the reference to an “actress friend” buying his watercolors to post the $500 bond at the border. In the typed version the reference is a “friend.” This places Goddard at the border with Diego. Other “accounts” don’t have them together.
He changes his back-up address to 773 Cragmont Ave., Berkeley, Calif. (ELP’s house) from 38 Calhoun Street in the rough draft. (ELP files)
Note: Per 1940 SF Directory: Packard, Walter E (Emma) h773 Cragmont, B(erkeley).
Emmy Lou Packard says that Rivera would sometimes stay/hide in the little bungalow they had in the backyard. Is this where ELP makes it onto Diego’s “list”?
HOY layout on The Great Dictator.
Frida writes postcard in NY to niece and later mails it in SF. (Archivo Isolda P. Kahlo in “Frida, El Circulo de Los Afectos” by Luis-Martin Lozano.)
As Frida departs for New York, she leaves a love note for Rivera written on the “valuables envelope” she got at St. Luke’s Hospital. She says when she gets back they’ll marry forever. (ELP files)
[This is sometime on or before Oct. 21, assuming the train takes three days. Oct. 24 she writes to ELP from NY. (Per Frida, p.300), Heinz Berggruen leaves a day earlier & awaits her on route.]
Rivera letter to David Dubinsky of LGWU dictated to ELP while he is on the scaffold. Same topics as 10.18 to Lofton, but more conciliatory. (ELP files)
Life magazine issue with article on California sculpture featuring Ralph Stackpole. Photos by Peter Stackpole may have been done in late June/July when he photographed Diego at “Art in Action.”
Frida sends letter to ELP from 88 Central Park West, NY. She expresses concern over Rivera’s health and lays-in about Guadalupe Marin. (ELP files) [Frida is giving testimony in the Lupe Marin defamation suit against Bertram Wolfe for his portrayal of her in his Rivera book. He implied they were “living in sin,” and Lupe says they were married by a priest.
HOY picture of Chaplin and Goddard celebrating the opening of The Great Dictator in NY.
Irene Bohus now lives 235E 73rd Street, NYC (NY Times) [Frida’s across Central Park and with Paulette there, too, Diego’s lovers have moved east.]
“Around Art Galleries”: Pflueger exhibit, i.e., 450 Sutter, Bay Bridge terminals, Paramount Theater, also Alhambra and New Mission theaters. (SF Chron)
Morley letter to Pflueger expecting him back soon from the NY World’s Fair. GGIE is far on the way to being demolished. She has completed arrangements for return of South American art and so her duties are finished. Art Digest would like to photograph mural and do story. Morley would like to know whom to credit for Rivera landscape, which is now on exhibit. (Plueger files)
Italy invades Greece.
National Society of Mural Painters opens show at Whitney, which runs until 11.20.40. (DaDa Base @ MOMA)
Technical assistant Arthur Niendorff letter belatedly thanking Pflueger for raise. (Pflueger files)
Frida sends Dr. Eloesser a postcard from NYC thanking him for visiting her in NYC and inquiring how Diego’s eyes were holding up.
[Note: Frida will not return from NYC till Nov.28.]
Rivera writes a letter of introduction for Thelma Johnson Streat to Galka Scheyer in LA. He met the Black painter at the GGIE when she worked as his assistant. (per ELP. See June 20)
FDR re-elected. [Willkie won 44 percent of the popular vote, but only 82 electoral votes to FDR’s 449. (The People’s Chronology)]
“What South America Thinks”, (Colliers magazine)
“[Joseph] Kennedy Launches Crusade to Save America From War” (SF Exam, front page)
[Questions whether Democracy is over in England. “’Don’t forget’ he said. ‘Lindbergh’s not so crazy, either.’”]
Willkie addresses nation. Pledges allegiance to FDR, but calls for “strong minority.” (SF Exam, 11.12.40, p.4)
The Great Dictator premieres in SF at the United Artists Theater. Goddard is also appearing in North West Mounted Police at the Warfield Theater, (SF Exam, 11.8.40) [Rivera will take his “crew” to see the movie opening per ELP.]
Molotov visits Hitler with the possibility of the USSR joining the Axis. (Chronology of the 20th C.)
Tonight Paulette Goddard appears at the Examiner Ski School. 5000 attend the function at the Civic Auditorium. She arrived this morning from Hollywood accompanied by Wallace Neff, secretary of the So. Cal. Ski Club, of which, she is president. She’ll return home tomorrow, [maybe not, see Nov. 15] (SF Exam)
Frank Lloyd Wright show at NY MOMA opens, which runs until 1.5.41. (DaDaBase @ MOMA)
Pflueger letter to Bottoroff explaining why mural panels should only be moved in a vertical orientation. “Walter L. Huber, who made the design of the steel frames planned it on that basis.” Rivera has assured Pflueger that he can be finished by December 1. Goddard telegrams Rivera that she is coming to sit for the completion of her portrait.
Paulette Goddard visits Rivera at the mural, (SF Exam, 11.16.40, p.15) [Note: Frida will not return from NY till Nov.28.]
Bottoroff letter to Pflueger reporting action of the (GGIE) Executive Committee at its 9.24.40 meeting. [Monahan says Board of Education sponsorship enabled getting WPA workers and that the mural will be turned over to the BOE. The GGIE will pay for one more month of Rivera’s labor upon the BOE’s acceptance of the mural and agreement to pay for removal and transportation.] (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to Bottoroff confirming their conversation that there “would be a preview Friday evening, November 29 from 7 to 11, and a public showing on Sunday, December 1, from 12 to 5.” There is a list of sponsors and a request to clean the central area of the Fine Arts building.
Plueger letter to Grace Morley saying it’s not advisable to do Art Digest article at this time. He’s trying to get mural photographed and photos are promised to Alfred Frankfurter.
The Rivera landscape just donated to SFMA still has an incomplete donor list. (Pflueger files)
Pflueger informs BOE that the Mural must be moved by Dec. 1.
Pflueger letter to BOE saying that Mr. Caulfield has made arrangements with Park Commission to store mural in old Palace of Fine Arts temporarily. Bottoroff needs formal request from BOE to that effect. So far BOE has only verbally expressed approval and maybe they should see it almost finished so as to formally approval.
HOY article “Los Ninos En La Pintura De Diego Rivera” by Xavier Villaurrutia.
“BOE Approves Rivera Mural…” (SF Exam, 11.20.40) [BOE insures mural for $50,000 for move.]
“Orson Welles wants to start his picture with Delores del Rio about February 1; are Olivia de Havilland and Jimmy Stewart cooling again after making up? Olivia spends most of her evenings now with Burgess Meredith,” (SF Exam, Louella Parsons) [Burgess Meredith will be Goddard’s next husband.]
Bottoroff letter to Pflueger asking him to notify Rivera, Arthur Niendorff and Emmy Packard that they are terminated as of close of business, 11.30.40. (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to Bottoroff sending copies of pertinent letters in regards to the deal he made on behalf of the GGIE with the BOE.
BOE letter to Pflueger regarding Nov. 19 meeting where their Resolution G-828 accepted mural contingent on advice from Art Commission and insuring it. It will temporarily be stored in the old Palace of Fine Arts.
Thelma Johnson Streat show opens at Stendahl Gallery in L.A. It runs till Dec. 7. (Does DR fly there for opening? June 17, 1945 Portland Oregonian says so, but it seems highly unlikely given the pressure he’s under to finsih the mural by November 29.)
Also, Moulin Studios photo of Rivera painting “the painter of the cigar store Indian.”
(Long shot, n.d., close-up and long shot with assistant, “Enda (sic) Wolff, Chicago artist,” Moulin w.d., SFPL Photos. [Ms. Edna Wolff, “formerly assistant to Rivera,” appears again in photo of Diego and Frida at the Cathay House restaurant later on.]
Frida comes to SF from NY. She tells Dr. Eloesser she doesn’t want to go to the inauguration of fresco, nor meet Paulette and the other dames. (Frida: A Bio., p.302)
“Rivera Finishes Biggest Mural” with picture of Rivera painting Edison and ELP looking on. (ELP files/Oakland Post Enquirer)
Private preview of the Mural from seven to eleven p.m.
(Rivera signs “unfinished” mural in lower right area on the scroll beside Wooden Indian. He’ll return on December 8 to do touch-ups. Next to his signature are the initials “BM.” Could these be of William “Bill” Monahan, General Mgr. of the GGIE?
BOE letter to Bottoroff requesting the mural be crated /delivered to the old Palace of Fine Arts. (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to Bottoroff saying he has notified Rivera et al of their termination. (Pflueger files)
Pflueger letter to Rivera enclosing four checks for landscape and requesting acknowledgment on enclosed copy of same letter.
Frida sends letter to niece from Alexander Hamilton Hotel/Apts. (O’Farrell nr Leavenworth. (Archivo Isolda P. Kahlo)
“The Last Bow: Exposition Takes Curtain Call Sunday Afternoon” (SF Exam)
Public viewing of “unfinished” mural (see Dec.8 & Dec. 29) today and tomorrow, noon to 5 p.m., (SF Chron, 12.2.40) “The occasion was a preview of Diego Rivera’s vast, super colossal, and possibly slightly dizzying fresco mural,” “open house a great success”, “more than 1,000 motorists,” “Silent memorial service for the GGIE…,” (SF Exam, 12.2.40, p.8)
Frida returns to SF from NY. (SF Chron, 12.6.40, p.1, col.3) [See Nov.28]
Grace Morley to Pflueger letter commenting on how well the Friday private preview went. She thinks it’s Rivera’s finest achievement to date and thinks Pflueger’s strategy for painting the rest of the room is sound (this is probably his plan to raise funding to enlarge the mural.)
General Manuel Avila Camacho inaugurated as president of Mexico. Rivera had backed his opponent Almazan.
Letter from Pflueger to Bottoroff of the GGIE requesting that the mural be left in place until Carter’s Goddess of the Forest can be moved. It’s in the way of photographing the mural (to make color reproductions for sale.) (Pflueger files) [Ironically, the Goddess was again in the way at the 1999 photo shoot.]
Artistic differences cited as reason for 1939 divorce. Go to “Art in Action” exhibit in the War Memorial Building (SFMA) with Emmy Lou Packard. SF Art Association announces that Rivera will teach at the California School of Fine Arts in the spring. Saw the Big Game together. Picture taken at SFMA. (SF Chron, 12.6.40, front page & pg.17)
Pflueger telegrams Miss Margit Varga at Life magazine advising that Rivera will teach in the spring at the California School of Fine Arts. In an unsent letter to her he claims that 5,000 saw the private preview and 25,000 to 30,000 saw the mural on its two-day public exhibition. Mr. Bristol took the photos of the mural for Life. (Pflueger files)
Request to Pflueger from The Art Digest for photos of the mural for an upcoming issue. [Pflueger sends only print available Dec.7.]
Rivera and Frida remarry in San Francisco City Hall on his 54th birthday with his assistant, Arthur (and Alice) Niendorff witnessing. (SF Chron, 12.9.40, pg.12)
Superior Judge George Schonfeld presides. (SF Exam, 12.6.40, p.13) [Frida is at the Alexander Hamilton Hotel per the license.]
Rivera works on mural. (Frida: A Bio., p303) [Some of the touch-up was done in water-based paint and Emmy Lou Packard left a warning for conservation purposes. Rivera intended most likely to return and fix the glitches.]
“Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ is doing well in its Los Angeles run but not the sensational business it registered in New York and Chicago,” (SF Exam, Pictorial Sect,. p.8)
Letter from Kathryn Grondahl (acting for John F. Allen, Pacific Coast Editorial Representative for Time, Inc.) to Pflueger. Letter asks Pflueger’s confirmation of Time’s take on talk they had with Rivera about “the figures shown in the Tree of Life panel of the mural” and their meaning. (Pflueger files)
Louella Parsons says Paulette is doing needlepoint from Rivera sketches. (SF Exam)
Letter from Cosgrove & Company, Inc. (underwriters) to Pflueger requesting notification when the mural is coming down.
Letter from Pflueger to Morley listing those that have already contributed to buying Rivera’s landscape for SFMA. (Symbolic Landscape or Minervegtanimortvida) Subscriber list: Rosalie M. Stern, Clara Hellman Heller, Albert M. Bender, William L. Gerstle, W.W. Crocker, Harry Camp, Pflueger. See 1.17.40
Pflueger letter to Rivera enclosing two checks for landscape and requesting acknowledgment on enclosed copy of same letter.
“Exhibit Place for Mural Urged: Art Board Suggests Temporary Home for Rivera Work” (SF Exam)
Exhibition of Rivera’s works at the SFMA till the 31st. (A&R, p.99)
Pflueger’s reply to Dec. 9 letter from Time: ‘you’ve got it right.’
Decoration of American Tanker Captain — Japanese Consul General — Asama Maru (ship) (December 13, 1940). BANC PIC 1959.010–NEG, Part 2, Box 158, [140188.05]. 3 negatives
Japanese Consul-General Ichiro Kawasaki pins decoration of the “Order of the Rising Sun” on American tanker Captain Leland E. Hawkins, who captained the tanker Associated (ship), which rescued 290 Japanese from sinking ship. Captain Turo Fujito also shown. (See January 22, 1940)
Minutes of Art Commission limits action to approving “the design of the Diego Rivera Mural,” which it did at a special meeting December 9, 1940. (Thereby not indicating it acquires/owns it.)
Secret plans issued for Operation Barbarossa, Germany’s invasion of Russia. (Chronology of the 20th Century) [This is the “sucker punch” Rivera felt was inevitable because of the cynicism inherent in the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany.]
“House Applauds Kennedy’s Stand: Warning Against War Involvement Given Ringing Congress Cheer” (SF Exam, p.10) [Joseph Kennedy, US Ambassador to Great Britain, has lost his post in November 1940.]
HOY picture of Frida and Diego (12.5.40) signing marriage application in SF.
“Diego Rivera and his wife…are the weekend guests of Paulette Goddard,” (SF Exam, per Louella Parsons, p. 12, Saturday)
[However, 12.6.41, Rivera letter to Emmy Lou Packard says “Paulette….came here to dinner and she and Frieda liked each other.” Which implies they hadn’t met earlier.]
Francis Lederer was divorced today by Margarita “Margo” Lederer. (NY Times, 12.22.40)
Letter from Rivera to Pflueger laying out the parameters of the addition to the Mural proposed for not later than three years. The approx. 3800 sq. ft. of new mural would effectively more than triple the size of the work. Rivera would be paid $25,000.00
Diego has the flu. (SF Chron, 12.29.40, p.6)
“Dolores del Rio has turned down the New York play…she chooses to stay near to Orson Welles.” (SF Exam, p.26)
“Diego Rivera: Artist Not To Teach Here” [cites change in Domestic situation….he remarried. Frida says after he finishes a couple of weeks work here, he will return to Coyacan to “’clear up some domestic things’ and return here in about six months to put the finishing touches on the fresco he has done for the San Francisco Junior College.”] (SF Chron, pg.6)
There are some poorly rendered parts of the mural, apparently places he let his assistants paint. He has “fudged” at the end and included some water-based paints to touch-up areas. Though all these “mistakes” are easily remedied, once he leaves he will never return nor see the mural again.
FDR calls America the “arsenal of democracy” in a “fireside chat” saying that all the Americas are in jeopardy.
[Rivera in his first HOY article (12.30.39) said that the US’s industrial capacity would dictate the winners of the war.]
Frida says she will return to Mexico today. (SF Chron, 12.29.40, pg.6)
[Even if it turns out she doesn’t, she will be home for “Christmas” with her family (Dio de los Reyes celebrated Jan. 6?) per Frida: A Bio., pg.303. However, the book is imprecise in saying she stayed “nearly two weeks” after the wedding, which would only put her in SF at the latest on Dec. 21. According to this newspaper article she’s tending a sick Diego on Dec. 28]
Refinement of 12.28.40 letter. He needs six months advance notice to commence two years work on the theme of Pan Americanism to be painted on the walls of the new CCSF Library. [The grand library will never be built because of lack of materials due to the onset of the war and Pflueger’s untimely death in 1946.]
[Friends of the San Francisco Junior College Fresco Fund, 585 Bush St., Dorothy Wright Liebes, secretary: Charter Subscription Form available only Nov. 30 and Dec.1, 1940, (Pflueger files)]
Rivera will leave SF forever sometime between 12.28.40, when he’s sick in bed, and 1.2.41, when ELP writes home from Santa Barbara (a month-long stop on their drive back to the border.) It will most likely be after Frida leaves on December 30.
ELP writes her family that they’re in Santa Barbara. They had a photo op and then went to see Santa Fe Trail starring Errol Flynn. The movie is anti-John Brown and made Rivera squirm.
Pflueger letter to ELP, (c/o Francis Rich, 112 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA) revising terms of Rivera’s completion of the balance of the mural.
“2 High Nazi Officials Held Active in Mexico” & “Mexico Reports Gestapo Organizer Other Nazis Busy” (SF Exam & SF Chron, 1.6.41) [new investigation of Axis aims in Mexico.]
Dudley Carter and family arrive in Santa Barbara. (ELP letter, 1.7.41)
Emmy Lou Packard replies to Pflueger from Santa Barbara (112 Chapala St.) on Rivera’s behalf re: expanding Pan-American Unity.
Rivera will start fresco panel tomorrow and they leave Saturday for Santa Monica, where they will stay only a day or two. This letter also refers to discussion between Dudley and Diego about a series of wood sculptures along the Pan-American Highway.
[Note: Photo of Rivera painting fresco portrait of Frances Rich, daughter of Irene Rich, radio and film star, in Santa Barbara, CA. (SFPL Photo Archive, date 2.5.41- Niendorff took photo per ELP note on photocopy. This note also states this fresco was destroyed shortly thereafter by earthquake). Actually, on Christmas, 12.25.51:
“Only little bits of colored plaster on the floor of Frances Rich’s studio, 112 Chapala St., are left of the stunning fresco portrait by Diego Rivera, outstanding Mexican artist, of the young sculptor with figure of St. Francis. The painting was cast to the floor by the earth shocks and the fresco was shattered. Miss Rich’s large portrait head of Diego Rivera, was also toppled over and broken. Her head of Donald Bear, Director of the Museum of Art, fell but was uninjured.”
Photo of Frances Rich modeling a bust of Rivera as he paints his self-portrait for her mother. (Art and Revolution, p.101) He also does the Firestone self portrait at his time. [acgart.gr]
[Rivera met Irene & Francis at GGIE in 1940. King Vidor, who directed Irene in The Champ, was at the Goddard tea for Rivera on June 8-9.]
Niendorff plastered today but it didn’t dry soon enough for Rivera to paint. Planning to leave for LA on Saturday. (ELP letter, 1.7.41)
ELP writes her family that today Diego ruined all he had started yesterday and will have to wait “a couple of days for “the panel to dry more, which means we’ll be here until next Sunday the nineteenth or so.”
Rivera went to Oscar Homolka’s party in LA. He spent evening with John Barrymore and Homolka talking about a movie to star all three. (ELP letter, 1.10.41)
ELP picks up Rivera at the Homolka house. They have Picasso and Rivera paintings all over the house. ELP takes the Coast Highway back to Santa Barbara. (ELP letter, 1.10.41)
ELP writes to family, “Well, here it is Friday and D hasn’t finished the first self portrait yet.” (Citizen Kane intrigue)
“Censored Dictator” (SF Chron) [Buenos Aires mayor bans film in response to pressure from Italian embassy. Last week the movie reached Chile and Mexico. In Mexico plainclothes and 14 uniformed police protected the theater.]
“Swastika Ripped from German Consulate” [3000 watch and cheer as flag flying in honor of Foundation Day at 29 O’Farrell in San Francisco is shredded.]
“Aid to Britain: Lease Program is Premature Says (Joseph P.) Kennedy”, (SF Chron, 1.19.40)
Jan 20, ‘41 DR & crew were still in Santa Barbara (niendorff & I)
Letter Jan 20 1941 (mine) “We will leave here mon or tues whenever Dad and Diego get underway. We will all drive to Brownsville (a non-stop plane to Mexico City)
We must have arrived in Mexico about Feb 10/41” [1/31/77 ELP misc. notes]
The artist writes [in English via ELP] from Los Angeles, 30 January 1941, to his patron Sigmund Firestone,
“You suggest, as have some of my other good friends here, that I apply for citizenship in this country. I am not sure I have the right to ask for safety, comfort and enlargement of my field of action, because the main subject of my painting has been my small, unsafe, and uncomfortable country. Millions of workers and peasants there are unable to seek advantages more than I have, and therefore I don’t like to do so either. I really love the United States, and I sincerely believe I speak the language of this country more than the Mexican, and it is precisely for this reason that I dislike to use the sympathy of the country for me opportunistically. I prefer to be a good friend rather than a suspicious member of the family. After all, my real aim is only to arrive at the creation of a common citizenship for everybody living on our continent, to destroy totalitarians such as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and company. I am very grateful to you for your friendly feeling. Circumstances may someday place me in the position of making the steps as a matter of life or death; only in this case could I take it.” [Emphasis added] (Sotheby’s Fine Books and Manuscripts, NY, Dec. 13, 2002)
Where is Diego? Somewhere between Los Angeles and Brownsville, Texas.
[Photo of ELP and DR at Alamo incorrectly dated February 28 by ELP. It’s probably February 4-5.]
Thomas Drayage letter to Pflueger saying they’ll move mural to old Palace of Fine Arts (from 1915 Fair) for $1500.00 in vertical orientation and not leaning more than 45 degrees. Similar letter says they can move mural to the deYoung for $2500.00 [$50,000 insurance]
“Diego Rivera, world famous Mexican artist, passed through Brownsville airport Thursday afternoon on his way back to Mexico City from San Francisco, CA. Mr. Rivera arrived at 1:40 p.m. by plane [see note below] and left via Pan American Airways for Mexico City at 2:20 p.m…His passaage through here was booked under a different name.” (The Brownsville Herald, February 6, 1941, page 2.)
Note: “My father and I drove Rivera to Brownsville, Texas, where he caught a non-stop flight to Mexico City.” ELP and her father drove on to Mexico City. (ELP Notes: July, 1958)
“Diego Rivera, world-famous Mexican artist, who was reported to have spent two days incognito at a hotel here, left by plane Thursday afternoon for Mexico City. He was acompanied here by Walter Packard, employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his daughter, Miss Emmy Lou Packard. …The Packards left by automobile for Mexico City. He [Rivera] is now working on a mural for the San Francisco Junior College depicting the Pan American Union. He said it will take him two years to complete the work. Miss Packard is his chief assistant…” (The Brownsville Herald, Friday, February 7, 1941, page 2.)
Bottoroff letter to BOE suggesting that since the library at City College won’t be ready for a while, the mural could be stored in the Administration building at T.I. on view by passengers of Clipper ships. [Handwritten notes by Pflueger say that if it can’t go into old Palace of Fine Art, it could go to the deYoung or in storage at Thomas Drayage.] (Pflueger files)
Emmy Lou Packard writes to her mother that her father left yesterday on the train after seeing the Palacio Nacional murals. Emmy Lou is living at the San Angel Casa/Estudio.
“We get up at 10 and lunch at three.” “Diego arrives from Coyoacan at 11:30 and sits in his studio till lunch time, staring at the walls and wishing he were back in Hollywood, or playing with the dogs or monkey. At two we go to Frida’s for lunch, and sit around afterwards till four or so.” “Diego bought sixty five new idols yesterday. He already has about two thousand packed in boxes. Frida was furious, as he needs a new car more than idols. He wheedled her out of it, though, and then crawled under the table and went to sleep.”
Siqueiros forced into exile in Chile because of the Trotsky affair. (A&R, p.99)
Albert Bender dies at age 74. (SF Art Assoc. Bulletin)
Life magazine issue depicting mural and legend of select figures.
Frida writes to Eloesser that Diego has been in a bad mood for two weeks after returning to “cuckoo country” from the US. He has to be on his guard. “In California everyone has treated him very well.” (The Letters of Frida Kahlo, Cartas Apasionadas)
(Life magazine letters)
Thanks from Rivera
I want to thank you for your fine review of my fresco mural in San Francisco, (Life, March 10). There is only one addition I want to make, in justice to my assistants. Although you mentioned only one, the two assistants on the mural are Emmy Lou Packard and Arthur Niendorff. Miss Packard is painted in the upper right panel representing the woman artist. She is the only painter I have found who is able to paint fresco with me successfully. Mr. Niendorff is not shown in the mural, but has been my assistant for many years. Without them I would have had great difficulty in completing the mural on time.
Diego Rivera, Mexico, D.F.
Operation Barbarossa, pre-dawn Nazi German attack on Russia. The “sucker punch” Rivera had always predicted comes.
Rivera letter to Emily Joseph (dictated to ELP) in San Francisco.
Though ostensibly an answer to a question about planning associations, he segues into a harangue about totalitarian governments and all their agents in the Americas. (ELP files)