The Assembly Line

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As can be seen from the final image below (showing the whole of the main panel), a bright sunlight was streaming through the glass ceiling on the day of our visit to Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes in the Detroit Institute of Arts, making many of our images of the north wall unusable and degrading the quality of the few included here. They nonetheless show the stunning level of detail Rivera went to despite the massive size of the work. These are all of the main panel, the bottom third of which shows construction of the eight-cylinder engine for the Model B (probably).

For more information, see also: Infant In The Bulb Of A Plant (East) | Building The Model B (South) |Life & Death (West)

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Top centre …

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Bottom centre …
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Bottom left …
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Shot of the main panel on the north wall …

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Video showing construction process at Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn, just outside Detroit

Life & Death

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Above is a striking panel from the west wall of the Diego Rivera ‘Detroit Industry’ hall in the Detroit Institute of Arts. One of Rivera’s main themes was the dual use of technology, for both good and bad, and here he represents both commercial aviation and military. The bottom panel shows worldwide shipping and the extraction of natural resources by developed countries (on the right, you can see rubber trees being tapped).
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Building The Model B

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Today we feature the main panel of the South wall of the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry frescoes in the Detroit Institute of Arts, which shows the construction of an automobile (probably the Model B – we will see the V-8 engine being produced on the north wall) at Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn. The wide shot is above and more detailed shots of the lower left, the right third, and the lower central portion follow.
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Here is the right third – in the bottom right corner (above the strip with panels charting a day in the life of workers) can be seen Edsel Ford, of Ford Motors, and William Valentiner, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts at the time Rivera painted the frescoes (1932-1933).

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The lower left portion …
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Below are three shots of the lower central section, of increasing proximity to the work; the third demonstrates the amazing level of detail of the frescoes.
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Two videos of the Rouge plant in 1938 and 1939 …
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa0PAg7FfMk] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXfk0op6JA]

Infant In The Bulb Of A Plant

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Here is the central portion of the east wall of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, had a miscarriage during their time in Detroit and the infant in the image is a tribute to that loss.
Rivera, a communist, was invited to paint the frescoes by Edsel Ford, of the Ford motor company. He painted four walls of a great hall in 1932-1933, celebrating industrial and medical progress while also portraying its deadly uses, and mixing Aztec, Mexican and Christian imagery. The east wall is the first in viewing order, just as in church liturgies.
Below is an (unaccredited) image of Rivera painting the outline (the “cartoon”) for this section of the wall, in 1932.
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