An incredible work of art and piece of Colorado history was recently restored at the University of Denver. Prior to its unveiling in April 2014, the exquisite Shakespearean mural framing the stage of the Reiman Theater in historic Margery Reed Hall was lost for nearly a century.
Painted in 1929 by legendary Colorado artist John Edward Thompson, the mural covers the large proscenium arch that encircles the theater stage. Considered by many historians to be one of the state’s most influential artists, Thompson is largely credited for introducing Colorado to modern art and is often referred to as the “Dean of Colorado Painters.”
One year after the mural’s completion, in 1930, then-theatre director Walter Sinclair painted over Thompson’s mural with layers of black paint. The public outcry following Sinclair’s vandalism was intense but short lived. The mural was believed to be destroyed, soon forgotten and lost for nearly 80 years.
The Thompson Mural’s return to glory is the result lengthy and costly restoration, carried out by a team of University staff, students, and professional art conservators. To see photos of the mural, a terrific before, during and after Reiman Theater slideshow is available on the Colorado Public Radio website.