The Jinks Room murals were completed in 1914 by artist, Maynard Dixon, husband to American photographer, Dorothea Lange. Dixon was commissioned by Anita Baldwin McClaughry, daughter of Arcadia's first mayor, Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin. Anita hung the murals in the basement of her 50 room mansion where she hosted numerous events with southern California's socialites and celebrities.
The paintings enhanced the environment of the mansion which frequently was host to wild, lavish, and debaucherous parties thrown by Anita and the Baldwin family. Upon first glance these images may seem fantastical and childlike and previously they were believed to be hung in a playroom for children. While taking a course in art history, USC Alumni, Francisco Rosa, class of 2010, uncovered the fact that these images were not intended for children at all. When you examine the murals closely, you can see the adult themes of drinking and sexuality depicted throughout these images. These are precisely the nature of the environment the paintings were intended for.
The murals were gifted to the USC Fisher Museum of Art by the McCaslin family in 1998. Unfortunately, the works had undergone some deterioration and graffiti damage over the years but USC has taken measures to preserve the murals. Currently, six of the nine pieces hang on the first floor of The Ronald Tutor Center where students and visitors can view them. Eventually, all nine pieces will be a part of the permanent collection of USC Fisher Museum of Art.
California saw a large population growth in the early 1900's, when many people were moving west in search of financial prosperity and many found their "california dream" in the Los Angeles area with oil and other industries. The Jinks Room murals are a small piece of the history of southern California and those lucky enough to have found monetary success in the upper class.
If you would like to witness this piece of southern California's history, head over to Tutor Center and make your way down to the first floor to see for yourself.