A new mural has been installed in the Indianapolis Special Collections Room on the Sixth Floor of Central Library. The artist Tom Torluemke has given it the working title, The Book of Life: The People We Know, the Experiences We Have, and the Conditions under Which We Live.
Inspired by Booth Tarkington’s novel The Magnificent Ambersons, and, as he says, “by all the other creators who came before me,” Torluemke spent a year painting this depiction of the Ambersons’ period and others in Indiana history.
Torluemke says that there’s a tradition of murals at libraries, such as John Singer Sargent’s at the Boston Public Library. “The bar has been set pretty high,” he laughs.
Come up to the Indianapolis Room at Central Library. Have a look at Torluemke’s wonderful evocation of the past; and then step over and look at the view of downtown Indianapolis that the Sixth Floor affords. It’s like going to a planetarium, and watching as the lights trace the passage of time.
Bobby Duke and Ritchie Townsend of the Bill Lawrence Company . . .
. . . are installing Tom Torluemke´s painting.
It is exacting work. Panels have to meet correctly.
And no wrinkles are allowed.
Artist Torluemke stands with some panels that are about to go up.
The process is discussed.
And Bobby begins to roll up the next panel.
What happens when a vent gets in the way? Ritchie hands it down to Tom . . .
. . . a hole is cut in the panel that is mounted over the vent hole . . .
. . . and Tom paints the vent.
The fully installed mural begins in the room´s southwest corner, with the migration of the French into Indiana.
To the right of the daisy (which could also be a spear) rising from the bottom, the beginnings of Indianapolis are depicted.
The figures in the central range of the mural . . .
. . . could be characters from Tarkington´s novel,
. . . but there are also historical figures, such as Walt Whitman, John Brown and Henry Ossawa Tanner.
In the northeast corner of the room, the pages of a book are opened.
And the figures in this book of life, historical figures and literary characters sometimes doubling . . .
. . . move into a possible future.