The idea for a mural in Frary Hall was first suggested by its architect, Sumner Spalding, shortly after the completion of the building. The Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco was selected at the urging of José Pijoan, a popular professor of Hispanic civilization and art history at the College. Although little known in this country at the time, Orozco would later be hailed as one of "los tres grandes"--the three great Mexican muralists: Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Prometheus, painted in 1930, was Orozco's first work in this country and the first Mexican mural in North America. The Mexican Mural Movement can, thus, be said to have begun here, at Pomona College. When Orozco arrived at the Claremont depot in March, 1930, he was met by an enthusiastic delegation of Pomona students, who were to play an important role in the project. Although the faculty of the time were divided about the merits of the commission, the students rallied to the artist's support, helping to raise funds for his fee. Watching the painting progress from day to day, many came to know Orozco personally, and alumni of the period recall with pride their personal involvement in the project.
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