Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Update - Home Savings/Wamu/Chase - The Millard Sheets Pasadena Mural Panic!

Now Chase is lighting up their Colorado and Lake location at night with blue neon!

Here is an update on the Millard Sheets murals which were removed from this location, even though they depicted a Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade scene from the turn of the 20th century! Perhaps we should be boycotting this bank, as they do not seem to respect the community they live in; First Federal was more sensitive in Claremont as you can read in this article:

Rochelle Branch, City of Pasadena's Manager of Cultural Affairs sends us this email: The mural panels were donated to the Millard Sheets Foundation. Tony Sheets, his son and foundation president, has met with members of PCOC who have expressed a serious interest in exhibiting them there. I believe he has committed to trying to work with them. The family sculpture is still in the bank as from what I understand will stay there.

Here is information on the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts (Millard Sheets Foundation in the above email):

End of update: We have lost some very significant Pasadena-specific public art due to unbridled capitalism, again. Perhaps we should exercise our economic muscle and move our accounts to a local credit union, as we have been advised by many financial experts.

We were alerted that Chase Bank at Lake and Colorado, located in what was Washington Mutual, who inherited art works commissioned by the Ahmanson Corporation, the owners of Home Savings which was originally located at this site, were about to do something nefarious to the Millard Sheets mural panels depicting the Pasadena Tournament of Roses around 1890, located on the walls behind the teller area.

Rochelle Branch, of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Office was alerted to this by an observant Pasadena Library employee, Catherine Haskett-Hany (here from another blogpost: Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also).

You can read about the Home Savings artwork and contribute to its saving by going to this blog, The Home Savings bank art project:

For those of you who do not know Millard Sheets, he was one of the preeminent local artists of the 20th century and his work is all over the country, including a number of murals in public places.

At the moment, Chase has put the mural behind a wall, so it's not very visible except at the ends. This artwork is monumental and is about 15 feet tall and about 100 feet wide. Unfortunately, I have no picture. I wish I would have taken one when it was fully visible! So let that be a lesson to all of us, don't assume what you see today will be there tomorrow!

Apparently, the sculpture, depicting a man, woman and child, was originally on the corner of Lake and Colorado, in the midst of a fountain. The Home Savings building was demolished in the 1990's and replaced by what you see there now.

If you appreciate something let others know, and if it is in any way historic, let the City's Design and Historic Preservation Department know so we can keep an eye on it and also inform the owners of its value to our community.


  1. I once tried to take photos of the works, when the bank was WaMu. Employees stopped me (some "no photos in the bank" policy). But I'm familiar with them.

    I suspect the Chase people are less nefarious than just ignorant.

  2. Petrea: Yes, trouble in taking pictures in banks. The Chase people apparently have wised up quickly when they found out what they have is valuable.

  3. Thanks for raising the alert, and for linking to my website.

    As I note there, the JP Morgan Chase rep I spoke with suggested that the bank management is interested in caring for this artwork -- I hope they mean to do so in place, though I think a number of LA-region museums would be interested in having them donated, if it came to that.

    I look forward to following your efforts...

  4. Thanks for highlighting this. I put up a related post with link-backs on the Rose Magazine blog >>

  5. Great historical work again, TA!

    These big corps, usually from outta de state, just really don't know who or what they're dealing with, or where. How well can they really don't know their customer base and communities when they have hundreds of offices nation/world-wide!? Employees transferring from one office to another, etc.

    More power to small biz.

  6. Hi there, I've been following links to your blog-- I'm a new Pasadena blogger, and have been getting introduced around by the gang. :) I'm commenting on this older post of yours because a) I remember when the original building was demolished in the '90's and the big fight it was then. Beadle's cafeteria was a favorite of mine and I was happy when they managed to eke out a way to stay... and sad when the eventually had to close. I didn't remember the mural inside the building, however. I'm so glad that you're keeping track of these things. So many great places and historic art have been lost in Pasadena. With the current work that's going on in the Brailey Bldg. on Fair Oaks in Old Town, I'm concerned about historical details being lost. My husband and I sneaked inside the other day, and saw same faux Classical murals (of unknown age/origin) inside and we wonder what's going to become of those.

  7. All,
    I've just added an October 2010 update to the Chase Pasadena/Millard Sheets mural saga.

  8. Here a further update from 6/11/12:
    PCC will be new home of Millard Sheets' historic Rose Parade mural
    By Janette Williams, SGVN

    Posted: 06/11/2012 08:30:49 PM PDT

  9. PASADENA - A classic 1963 mural of the first Rose Parade painted by famed artist Millard Sheets is coming home to Pasadena.

    More than two years after it was taken down from the former Home Savings lobby on Colorado Boulevard in a Chase Bank corporate makeover, the entire 50-foot mural is expected to be installed in the lobby of Pasadena City College's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium this summer.