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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Maynard Dixon and the Golden Gate Bridge

I was looking through some notes today, wonderful stories that weren't included in the documentary that I produced about Maynard Dixon. I came across this image from 1930, it's a design study of the Golden Gate Bridge with a walled tollbooth. The design of the bridge needed an architect, and the chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, asked his public relations counsel Charles Duncan for some suggestions. Duncan was the brother-in-law of Maynard Dixon and remembered the wonderful aerial view canvas that Dixon created for promotion of the bridge bond issue. Maynard recommended Irving Foster Morrow, who began the job despite endless controversy about the design.

Maynard Dixon held a meeting at his studio at 728 Montgomery Street to discuss the design elements with his artist friends, Strauss and Morrow. A design was agreed upon and they proceeded. Daniel Dixon told me that the color of the bridge was also decided in that meeting. Maynard painted a wide, rust-orange colored circle around the light bulb on the ceiling of his studio. He believed that it brought warmth to the cold room, with San Francisco's gray days outside the windows.

All agreed that it worked. The bridge became that rust-orange.