Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art Conservation

Reader 1

Frances Pohl

Reader 2

Eric Doehne

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© 2016 Abigail E. Rodriguez


Tucked within Pomona College’s campus in Claremont, California, sits Frary Hall, the home of Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco’s first work in the United States. The mural, titled Prometheus (1930), has been subjected to many instances of vandalism over the years. Thus, in 1980, a protective coating was applied. Today, the coating, a highly-reflective varnish, has been noted as a hindrance of the fresco’s original matte surface. Using case studies and art historical analysis, this thesis examines the importance of the mural within the history of Mexican muralism and the pros and cons of removing the protective coating. In addition, this research looks at the potential of art conservation as a means of reactivating the mural and promoting discussions across campus about the preservation of this cultural landmark. The thesis is culminated by a detailed proposal for the continued conservation of the mural, using Prometheus as a starting point for further discussions about aesthetics and ethics within the discourses of art history, art conservation and art restoration.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.