When Wild Reiss won the commission to design and install the immense mosaic murals in the Cincinnati Union Terminal in 1931, he was already a ted artist. An immigrant from Germany, Reiss began his career in the United States as a commercial artist. He soon became a sought-after portraitist and designer of large public art projects.The Cincinnati Union Terminal murals are extraordinary t only for their size and the boldness of their color and design but also for the artist's use of mosaic rather than the more typical paint on plaster. After Reiss's death, he and his work fell into relative obscurity as tastes and trends in art changed. The terminal itself closed down in 1972 and was partially demolished. It reopened in 1990, transformed into the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the awe-inspiring murals of the rotunda are once again on display.Wild Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal is the first book to collect images of all the mosaic murals, including those rescued after the demolition. Gretchen Garner traces the inception of the murals and Reiss's selection as their creator; his development as an American artist; and the artistic and historical context for the work, including the Mexican muralist and American regionalist movements. At long last, Garner gives these evocative and vibrant murals?-?a signal work of public art in Ohio and in the nation?-?the attention they deserve.
Gretchen Garner is an art historian and the author of Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography. She curated and wrote the exhibition catalogs for Reclaiming Paradise: American Women Photograph the Land and Six Ideas in Photography: A Celebration of Photography's Sesquicentennial. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.