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Josef Albers Mural Returns to the Lobby of 200 Park Avenue

October 26, 2019

In a strong nod of respect to the PanAm Building, now officially known as 200 Park Avenue, Josef Albers’s mural “Manhattan” has been recreated for the lobby nearly two decades after its removal. The mural debuted with the PanAm Building in 1963 and remained until a lobby overhaul in 2000. In 2005, Tishman Speyer and Irvine Company acquired the building. MdeAS Architects, with oversight from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, was commissioned to renovate the two-level, 50,000-sq-ft lobby. Replicated at full scale, the mural is 55 feet wide and 28 feet tall. You won’t miss it.

The 58-story PanAm Building was designed by Emery Roth & Sons, Pietro Belluschi (1899–1994) and Walter Gropius (1883–1969). Josef Albers (1888–1976) was commissioned by Gropius to create the mural as the lobby’s focal point. It’s once again a vibrant welcome to an estimated 250,000 commuters daily in a passageway between Grand Central and 45th Street that has not been open since the 1980s. Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation said Albers “believed that abstract art could be a perpetual source of emotional uplift to human life. He was extremely proud when the original “Manhattan” mural was created, because he realized that, every day, thousands of people would, at the very least, glance at it and gain that added sprint to their walk and feeling of inner happiness that is induced by the vibrant interplay of reds, blacks, and whites organized to have maximum rhythm…” Albers named the mural “Manhattan” to celebrate and honor New York City.

“Replica of beloved Josef Albers mural “Manhattan” has returned to original home in lobby of 200 Park Avenue,” Artdaily, October 21, 2019.

The original “Manhattan” was on display from the building’s opening in 1963 until 2000. Courtesy of Diane Bondareff, AP Images for Tishman Speyer.