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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0596

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[photo] [Murals of the Masonic lodge, Alameda, California]
Photo credit: Philip A. C. Harris
Date: 1896
Medium: wall murals of unknown materials
Provenance: in collection of Oak Grove Lodge 215, Free and Accepted Masons, Alameda, California; the building has since been sold and the murals may have been destroyed. (See note below.)
Reproductions: Photograph by Philip A. C. Harris, c. 1930; Sherman, Edward A., Fifty Years of Masonry in California, page 406; San Francisco Chronicle, 24 April 1896; Oak Grove Lodge No. 215 F & A.M. 1871–1971 Centennial, page 33f.
Description: In 1896, Schafer painted five large wall murals and ceiling decorations in the hall of the Oak Grove Masonic Lodge in Alameda. "On one wall there are three scenes--Yosemite valley, the cedars of Lebanon and Mount Shasta--and on the opposite wall are depicted a view of the River Jordan and a picture of one of the arms of the Sea of Java. The ceiling is covered with an elaborate fresco, consisting of a representation of the Masonic emblems in various forms." (From the 1896 San Francisco Chronicle.)
Note: 1) Descriptions and photographs of the individual scenes can be found via the index of murals, or by clicking on the thumbnail above. 2) Use of the building by the Masons was discontinued in the 1920's because of earthquake risk, and the building was sold in the 1970's. It has since been reported that the murals are no longer visible, but it is not known whether they were covered, painted over, or completely destroyed. 3) No photograph has been located of the ceiling decoration.
Identification: There is some question as to just what some of the murals depict. The 1898 book by Sherman, on page 405, describes the center mural on the north wall as The Sierra Nevada rather than the cedars of Lebanon, and it describes the two paintings on the south wall as the River Jordan and The Road to Jericho with the valley of the River Jordan in the distance, and it does not mention the Sea of Java.

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST