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Historic Knight Library: Art & Architecture

Guide to the art and architecture of the 1937 historic Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene.

Pan, detail



Design: Phyllis Muirden Ryder Carving: Clarence E. Bates in collaboration with Art Clough.
Design Date: 1936-37. Carved: 1938-39. Installed in 1939. Medium: Carved Oregon maple panel. Dimensions: 5 ft. x 7 ft.
Location: Browsing Room

Pan, by Phyllis Muirden Ryder

Dr. Suzana Radivojevic, Historic Preservation adjunct instructor and wood scientist, was employed at the request of Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries, to analyze the condition, clean, and recommend future treatment of the Browsing Room carved panels. Photo: April 2017.

Pan (detail).  Design: Phyllis Muirden Ryder.  Wood carving: Clarence E. Bates.

In a 1937 status report for Burt Brown Barker, head of the WPA Fine Arts Project for Oregon, Brownell Frasier indicates that she had designs ready for carved panels for spaces over the three doorways and for over the two fireplaces. A November 1938 article in the Oregon Daily Emerald reports from Frasier that she was considering wood carved panels for the fireplaces but they had not yet been installed. Clarence Bates was hired to assist Art Clough, the chief carver, because he could not finish work in a timely way since he was involved in several carving projects. The 'overdoor' carvings were presumably never created while the 'overmantel' carvings were installed in 1939 and were based on designs created by Phyllis Muirden as early as 1936.

The figure in the carving "Pan" is similar to artistic depictions of a human Pan playing a flute, not the Pan with goat features.

In a letter dated May 3, 1982, University Archivist Keith Richards provided for Karel Yasko, Counsellor for Fine Arts and Historic Preservation, General Services Administration, a list of all Works Project Administration art projects on the UO campus in response to a request from Peter Hero, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission.  The list identifies the work called Pan as Apollo and identifies the artist as Art Clough.  This list is the only source that names the work Apollo and does not correctly attribute Phyllis Muirden as the designer of the work and Clarence Bates as the chief carver. The source of Mr. Richards' information is not provided in the letter.

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Douglass, Matthew Hale. The University of Oregon Library Building. 1937.

Evans, Lew. "Art Work in New Library Product of Delicate Work by Grads and Professors." Oregon Daily Emerald, May 19, 1937.  The article identifies the Arnold B. Hall memorial gates and companion plaques by O. B. Dawson; the frieze of heads by Edna Dunberg and Louise Utter Pritchard; the balcony sculptures by Pritchard; and the wood carvings by Arthur Clough and the Gypsy Craftsmen in the Upper Division Reading Room. The article notes that in the stairwells are four open blank frames. The two hand-lettered murals by N. B. Zane are described and it is noted that the Runquist Brothers are working on the larger spaces.

Emerson, Kim, "University of Oregon Library and Memorial Quadrangle," National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, August 15, 1989.

Richards, Keith. "W. P. A. Art Projects." Letter from Keith Richards to Karel Yasko, May 3, 1982, University of Oregon Library, Eugene, Oregon.

"The Library," Ellis Lawrence Building Survey. v.2 (Eugene). Compiled by the Historic Preservation Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon ; project directors, Michael Shellenbarger, Kimberly Lakin. [Salem, Or.] : State Historic Preservation Office, [1989].

"Library Browsing Room Will Be Furnished Soon." Oregon Daily Emerald, March 30, 1938, 1. Article notes that tomato-colored leather chairs were being restuffed, other furniture to be added. Notes that delay in receipt of rugs is due to internal problems in China. Notes that wall decorations have not been determined, but that woodcarvings were being considered to hang over each fireplace.