John Steuart Curry murals spread an important message about KansasStory by Dana Davis (49ABCnews, Topeka, Kansas)
A large, striking, portrait of controversial abolitionist John Brown, painted in all his fury.
Towering images of a Kansas frontiersman and Spanish explorers.
Vivid murals in deep rich colors of burnt orange, chocolate brown, indigo and emerald painted by John Steuart Curry in the State Capitol.
"The murals that Mr. Curry painted in the Capitol was done in the the early 1940s. Mr Curry was commissioned to paint the East Wing where we are now, the West Wing, also the rotunda," said Don Dunn, Tour Guide for the Capitol.
Perhaps the most famous and one of the most controversial paintings of Curry is that of John Brown. Dunn says critics did not like the use of John Brown, the color scheme, and the overall menacing look of the mural, including the tornado and fire.
"Mr. Curry explained any person that he painted, which he felt was important to Kansas history, he was gonna paint larger then life," Dunn said.
"The tornado, he explains, as the gathering of the storms of war. The fire as fires of war, but it's also put there so show the destruction that the Civil War caused across the Kansas territory," Dunn said. . . .
Curry was also commissioned to paint the rotunda, but it didn't happen.
"After he completed the paintings in the West Wing, Mr. Curry was basically fired by the legislators," Dunn said.
Curry left the state, never signing his artwork. He declared it unfinished because he didn't paint the scenes planned for the rotunda.
Postscript: The Curry murals were nominated for the Eight Wonders of the World.