Part of a major gift from the Manton Foundation to Dartmouth College will create a $1 million endowment to support conservation and education programs for The Epic of American Civilization, the mural painted in the Reserve Reading Room of Dartmouth’s Baker Library by Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco. In recognition of the gift, the site will be renamed the Orozco Room.The 3,200-square-foot mural, one of Dartmouth’s treasures, traces the history of the Americas from the migration of the Aztecs into central Mexico to the development of modern industrialized society. The frescoes are considered some of the finest examples of mural painting in the United States.
In addition to conserving the murals, the endowment will support programs facilitating their study and use for educational purposes, provide for improvements to the Orozco Room, and underwrite a curatorial fellowship at the Hood that bears the Orozco name.“These endowments are made to honor the memory of my grandparents, Sir Edwin and Lady Manton,” says Sandra Morton Niles ’90, spokesperson for the Manton Foundation. “I have fond memories of studying in the Reserve Reading Room as a student at Dartmouth because the space was made so much more alive by the murals. Our gift reflects my family’s appreciation of the importance of the work and my grandparent’s lifelong support of the arts.”
The Manton Foundation was formed by Edwin A. G. Manton, who was born in England in 1909. Sir Edwin was a major benefactor of the Tate Gallery in London, its most generous since the founder, Sir Henry Tate.