Richmond Home

The Art of Hans Gassman

The current exhibition at UR Downtown features works of art by German artist Hans Gassman (1907–2002).

Hans Gassman created the mural The Circulation of Money in 1956 for the Franklin Federal Savings and Loan Association on Broad and Seventh Streets. Today, the mural is the centerpiece of UR Downtown's Conference Room. The exhibition highlights the mural as well as art works made throughout the twentieth century in Europe and the United States representing a wide span of the artist’s career.

In the Franklin Federal Savings and Loan Association mural, Gassman implemented the sgraffito technique, which had not been widely used in the United States. The method, which dates back to the Middle Ages, consists of layering multiple coats of different colors of plaster, and then scraping through the colored layers to create lines and shapes that form the overall design. The resulting mural is three-dimensional and has a vibrant composition which is literally part of the building.

The UR Downtown mural depicts the story of money—an allegorical mural of money exchanges over time, combining biblical and classical figures with symbols of Virginia. The mural contains recognizable landmarks in Richmond and greater Virginia and includes images pertaining to Virginia’s economics and industries such as tobacco, farming, and ships.

The exhibition was organized by the University of Richmond Museums and co-curated by University of Richmond students Layla Hedges, ’12, art history major and 2010 Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellow, University Museums; and Mary Ellen Stanley, ’11, art history major and 2010–11 curatorial assistant, University Museums; with research assistance from Elizabeth Moore, ’11, art history major. The artwork is from the collection of The Wilton Companies, Richmond, on loan to the University of Richmond Museums.