Manhattan (Josef Albers Mural)
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Manhattan Josef Albers Mural

Manhattan was a large scale mural by Josef Albers which has now been recreated from the artist's specifications and is prominently repositioned in its original display location facing into the Metlife Building (originally the PanAm building)'s lobby and placed backwards atop the summit of the escalators traveling up and down from and in and out of the modernist skyscraper and Grand Central Terminal.


in 1929 Albers then at The Bauhaus in Germany created a work called "City". Years later in teh early 1960's after having emigrated to the United States and settling in New York City the architect and founder of the Bauhaus Walter Gropius commissioned him to do a mural for the then new PanAm Building (now the MetLife Building). Subsequently he worked his original design into the formidably sized "Manhattan". As Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation has explained "In making the mural, he took a concept he had developed at the Bauhaus in sandblasted glass, and gave it new life on a vastly large scale to serve the purposes of his friend and colleague, Walter Gropius, who designed the original building and asked him to make the mural. Naming it "Manhattan"....[1]

in 2001 the mural was taken down. Therein some years earlier ownership of the strucuture had changed hands and moniker to MetLife and the new owner's citing repurposing of the lobby to allow for more light to enter doubled with the fact the mural had been found to be laden with asbestos took the work down without notice. This then led to somewhat of an uproar.[2]

in 2019 the new owners of the structure Tishman Speyer decided to remploy the work in its original position..However as the murals was disassembled into panels which were laden with asbestos the work had to be recreated. Providentially Albers had the foresight to leave behind percise specifications for the work to be reconstituted and so it has been and once again is up high for all to take in.[3]


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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