Within the heart of the Alexandria towers this giant Art Deco mural depicting nymphs and sea sprites of classical mythology cavorting amid stylized ocean waves and abstracted flower blossoms. Like much of the best Art Deco, this original painting blends inspiration from the greatest traditions of world art with the uniquely 20th century aesthetic that was Art Deco. Clean, sweeping lines, patterns, and geometric stylization expressed the era's look forward to a streamlined utopia liberated by technology, freed from the chains of the past yet enriched by classic treasures. The confidence and optimism that produced Art Deco faded completely by the end of the 1960s, replaced by the harsh concrete forms and utilitarian structures common today, which express bottom-line profit preservation.
This mural will probably be lost in the Alexandria's remodeling by its new owners. Phaeton Group is grateful to these owners and to Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project for arranging permission to photo-document this art treasure before it is gone.
And we again thank the Phaeton Group and Dr. Reynolds for stepping up to archive the Richmond district's great treasure! Archival prints of their work will be sent to the San Francisco History Center of the San Francisco Public Library.
Image: Phaeton image by Anderson Gin and David West Reynolds.
Page updated 19 August 2004
Contribute your own stories about the Alexandria!