WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 155 of 203

artist profile "a universal artist" Cambridge to teach at MIT as an associate professor of visual design and became full professor in 1949. In 1967 he founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at MIT. He cannot be categorized as belonging to any art movement; rather, he is often described as a "universal artist" creating in several different movements, including abstract expressionism. In 1956 architect Carl Koch commissioned Kepes to work with him on the design and building of the Wellesley Free Library. The utilitarian enamel panels were to function not just as decorative art, but were to provide a form of insulation for the building. Forty-two years later, Dante DeGrutolla, a retired professor of Fine Arts at Mass Bay Community College, stood before the Wellesley Library Committee and persuaded members to stop the complete demolition of the building and to save the 81 Kepes panels that were part of the building's exterior. "If I was to say to you 'Pollock, de Kooning, or Picasso,' we would- n't be having this discussion. The name Kepes may not carry the same cachet as these three artists, but I implore you to stop the total demo- lition of our old town library and allow me to explain the importance of this internationally acclaimed artist György Kepes," professor DeGrutolla pleaded. Knowing that construction of a new library building was inevitable, professor DeGrutolla established the Wellesley Kepes Panel Committee to educate citizens about György Kepes' contribution to the art world above: Kepes panels adorn the Wellesley High School Visual Arts stairwell. below: Tory DeFazio, George Roman, Julie Kepes (György's daughter), Márton Orosz, Dr. Robert Murphy, and Sylvia Hahn-Griffiths. and to ultimately find a permanent home in Wellesley for the panels. In addition to DeGruttola, the members of the Committee include two former MIT students of György Kepes, George Roman and Dr. Robert Murphy, along with Wellesley residents Joel Slocum, Tory DeFazio, and Sylvia Hahn-Griffiths. As a result of the Committee's efforts, the Kepes panels were care- fully removed from the old library and fifteen panels were chosen to adorn the exterior of the new library. More recently, some of the Kepes panels were given another look with the construction of the new Wellesley High School building, and on April 29, 2012 a ceremony dedicated the panels with an unveiling of a György Kepes plaque. These panels are located on a stairwell that connects the visual arts classrooms to the first floor performing arts rooms. However, there are still more than fifty panels that continue to collect dust in the basement of the Wellesley Free Library. The heavy rectangular panels are painted in the recognizable style that has come to define Kepes' abstract work. The muted, earthen colors of 154 WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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