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Antreasian, Garo Mural of Indianapolis, 1952


Garo Antreasian was born in Indianapolis and attended Arsenal Technical High School, where he first studied art and was encouraged to pursue his talent by teacher Sara Foresman Bard. He continued his studies at the John Herron School of Art from 1940 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1948. Like many artists of his generation, Antreasian served in the military during World War II, working for the Coast Guard as a combat artist. After his graduation from Herron in 1948, Antreasian served as an instructor at the school until 1959, and again from 1961 to 1964. He spent the summer of 1949 studying modern printmaking techniques with Will Barnet at the Art Students League in New York City and at the famed Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 at the New School for Social Research, also in Manhattan.

Antreasian served as the first technical director of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles in 1960–61. He joined the faculty of the art department when Tamarind moved to the University of New Mexico–Albuquerque in 1970. He taught there until his retirement in 1987. Antreasian is credited with the revival of the art of lithography in the United States in the 20th century. Some of the innovative materials and techniques that Antreasian has incorporated into the art of printmaking are metallic inks, embossing the print surface, printing on metal foil, and collaging.

  • Mural of Indianapolis, 1952
  • 72 3/4″ x 239″
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • Keywords: paintings, murals, oil on canvas
  • Subjects: monuments, clocks, towers, administration buildings, buildings, trees, sailboats, memorials

Originally hung in the lobby of WRTV-Channel 6 in Indianapolis, this painting was given to The Children’s Museum in 1984. It is a five-panel mural that depicts Indianapolis. The center panel is dominated by an image of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at Monument Circle. Other identifiable structures are the clock tower of Union Station, the state capitol building, and the Indiana War Memorial. While the forms of the buildings, trees, and sailboats are recognizable, they have been painted in a flat, simplified way.

Some Points To Consider

  • Remind students of the differences between traditional and contemporary art styles. Ask them to decide if this painting is traditional or contemporary. Help them locate recognizable forms in the mural of Indianapolis. Ask them why they think the objects are painted in a flat, nondimensional way. Do they think the objects could be made to look more realistic and still fit the painting’s style? Why or why not? (Art 4.2.3)
  • Point to various landmarks in the mural and ask students if they have changed since 1952, and if so, in what ways. Ask them to speculate about why the changes might have been made. (Art 4.1.1) (Social Studies 4.1.13)