SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The cocktails were flowing Thursday evening at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in celebration of the return of the Pied Piper of Hamelin mural.
“We’ve been waiting for quite a few months for this moment and we are delighted to welcome the Pied Piper today,” declared the hotel’s general manager, Christophe Thomas.
Hotel owners removed the painting from its namesake bar, The Pied Piper Bar and Grill, in this past spring, reasoning that it simply wasn’t practical to hang a piece of art that is valued in the millions of dollars in such a public place. The plan was to sell the painting, which measures 16 ft. long, 6 ft. tall and weighs several hundred pounds.
However, plenty of the bar’s regulars, not to mention local historians and art enthusiasts, cried foul, prompting hotel management to reconsider.
“It was just for a few days at the beginning and very fast, the decision was made that we would keep the painting,” Thomas explained.
Even better, the decision was made to restore the artwork before re-hanging it.
“The colors are very vibrant and it’s really worth stopping by The Palace to see it,” enthused San Francisco Heritage Executive Director Mike Buhler. “It looks better than it’s ever looked before, vibrant, absolute clarity.”
Buhler’s organization is credited with leading the charge for the Pied Piper’s return.
Artist Maxfield Parish was commissioned to paint the mural for the hotel’s grand re-opening in 1909, after the building was nearly leveled by the great 1906 earthquake. The restoration includes an invisible coating, designed to better protect the artwork for years to come.
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