April 12, 1999
Volume 51, No. 27
Community invited to installation of long-lost frieze in library lobby
"Alexander's Triumphal Entry into Babylon," the neoclassical frieze Woodruff staff members recovered last year from the Candler Library attic, is being temporarily installed in the level two lobby at Woodruff Library. Members of the Emory community are invited to attend the installation, April 19 at 4:30 p.m. A reception will follow in the library's Joseph Jones Room.
Library staff hope the frieze will be reinstalled in its original home after renovations to Candler are complete. Until then, 19 of its 26 sections will hang in Wood-ruff's second-floor mezzanine, another four will hang in its front entrance and three will hang in the Jones Room.
Schatten Gallery Director Valerie Watkins said library staff decided on the temporary installation because they didn't want the frieze to lie around in wait for the Candler renovations, possibly two or three years from now. "But on down the road we all want to see it installed where it originally came from," she said.
The frieze originally hung on the third floor of Candler, where there once stood a circulation desk. University Archivist Ginger Cain believes the frieze was removed and carefully crated when renovations to Candler were made from 1955 to 1957.
The Candler frieze is a plaster copy of a work by neoclassical Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen (1770-1844), which was originally commissioned by the Academy of France at Rome for a visit to Italy by the emperor Napoleon in 1812.
Classics Department Chair Peter Bing will discuss Alexander's life and times at the installation ceremony, and Cain will present a history of the frieze and talk about plans for its future. "We owe those who work on the [Candler] renovations a big debt of gratitude for having the vision and patient to salvage the frieze as they did," Cain said last year. "The frieze could easily have become part of 'vanishing Emory,' something that had disappeared forever. Instead, it has resurfaced and can become part of the library's future as well as its past."