“Mural” returns home to UI Stanley Museum of Art after world tour

After nine years of touring Europe and the United States, Jackson Pollock’s Mural it’s finally home to the University of Iowa, where it will be on display when the UI Stanley Museum of Art reopens on August 26.

Stanley Art Museum Director Lauren Lessing and museum collections staff welcomed Mural to its £3,200 haul on July 14. After acclimatizing to the new environment, Mural rode the custom freight elevator to the second floor of the museum and is now permanently displayed in the Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Gallery.

The 8-by-20-foot painting traveled more than 20,000 miles to 14 countries on trucks, cargo planes and boats, and was seen by more than 2.7 million people after it left Iowa City on a planned world tour shortly after the 2008 flood. Mural marks a pivotal moment in Pollock’s career and is a beacon for art lovers everywhere.

The museum’s inaugural exhibit, Homecoming, will include Muralas well as more than 600 works of art in all media by approximately 500 artists.

Volunteers are needed

Be in the center of the action during the August 26-28 grand opening celebration by volunteering to support a variety of activities throughout the museum. Find out more here.

“We’re bringing home all the wonderful works of art that people have been missing so much—the rock stars of the Stanley Art Museum,” says Lessing.

The new Stanley Art Museum building will be officially dedicated at 3:00 pm on August 26, followed by its grand opening celebration on August 26-28.


in 2012, Mural underwent a two-year technical study and conservation treatment by research scientists at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, followed by solo exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Starting in 2015, Mural was the centerpiece of an exhibition curated by David Anfam and organized by the UI Museum of Art, Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’: Energy Made Visible, which traveled to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Berlin; and Museo Picasso Málaga, Málaga, Spain. After that exhibition closed in 2016, Mural anchored other exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Art, London; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City.


Mural considered by many to be the most important modern American painting ever made. Peggy Guggenheim, the leading dealer of modern art in New York during the 1940s, was eager to present in her home a symbol of support for the new American brand of art she had begun to champion in her gallery. She commissioned Pollock to create a mural for her new home in the city. Pollock had to choose the subject, and the size of the art would be large (more than 8 feet long and 19 feet wide), destined to cover an entire wall. At the suggestion of Guggenheim friend and mentor Marcel Duchamp, it was painted on canvas, not on the wall itself, so it would be portable. In 1947, Guggenheim closed her gallery and returned to Europe. She recognized the importance of the UI studio art program, she wrote to Lester Longman, head of the UI School of Art and Art History, on October 3, 1948, reminding him that she offered to give Mural to the university if he would pay to send her from Yale. He immediately replied that he was indeed interested and began negotiations with the university administration about the cost of transportation. Finally, in October 1951, the painting was shipped to Iowa.

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