Allyn Cox

Cox, Allyn, 1896-1982

Allyn Cox was born in New York City in 1896. His parents, Kenyon and Louise Howland King Cox, were accomplished artists, and he followed closely in their footsteps. Cox received formal training as a muralist and portrait painter in the U.S. and Italy. He attended the National Academy of Design in New York and the American Academy in Rome. He also apprenticed with his father, painting murals alongside Kenyon Cox at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

In 1952, Cox began the project for which he would become famous. Under a congressional commission, Cox took over the task of restoring and completing the murals in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, which Constantino Brumidi and Filippo Costaggini had begun in 1878. Cox filled the gaps Costaggini left upon his death in 1889, restored existing work including the Apotheosis of Washington in the eye of the dome, and began expanding the murals. For the next thirty years, Cox worked on murals for various spaces in the Capitol building. In fact, upon his death in 1982, he left behind designs that were carried out by EverGreene Painting Studios in the 1990s.

Earlier in his career, Cox took commissions for murals and decorative paintings in private residences, churches, and public buildings. At Dumbarton Oaks, he designed and painted the murals found in the hallway leading to the Music Room as well as murals for the interior of the McKim, Mead & White loggia. Unfortunately, the method he used to create his paintings involved a base built of white paint over canvas glued to plaster. His exterior work at Dumbarton Oaks was located in a dark, damp space beside the swimming pool. Completed between 1926 and 1928, the loggia mural of Diana and Actaeon was deteriorated beyond repair by 1948. At that point it was removed. In the 1960s, Cox teamed up with Venetian Art Mosaics Studio out of New York to recreate the basic design of the mythic painting in glass mosaic. The mosaic remains in the three interior arches of the loggia today.

 

References:

Architect of the Capitol. "Allyn Cox." AOC.gov. Last updated April 4, 2014. http://www.aoc.gov/allyn-cox

Architect of the Capitol. "Cox Corridors." AOC.gov. Last updated April 4, 2014. http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-buildings/cox-corridors

The United States Capitol Historical Society. "The American Story in Art: the Murals of Allyn Cox in the U.S. Capitol." USCHS.org. Accessed June 5, 2014. http://www.uschs.org/exhibit/exhibit-allyn-cox-murals/uschs_allyn-cox.htm

Waggoner, Walter H. "Allyn Cox, 86, Painter of Murals for U.S. Capitol." New York Times, September 28, 1982. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/09/28/obituaries/allyn-cox-86-painter-of-murals-for-us-capitol.html