Rescued art in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado.

Original staff plaster memorial to Fray Junipero Serra, founder of the Franciscan missions in Alta California.  Was part of the 1915 Exposition's Food Products Building.
Original staff plaster memorial to Fray Junipero Serra, founder of the Franciscan missions in Alta California. Was part of the 1915 Exposition’s Food Products Building.

In the outdoor Panama-California Sculpture Court at Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado you’ll discover a small collection of rescued art. Most of these sculptures and decorative motifs are made of staff, which is gypsum plaster mixed with hide glue, reinforced with fibers. They were found in 1975 dumped in an unused corner of the nearby Casa de Balboa.  Many are remnants of the old Food and Beverage Building from Balboa Park’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition and were designed by architect Carleton Monroe Winslow. Visitors today can admire these beautiful historical pieces up close.

Castle, on left side of the base of Serra Memorial, depicts the heraldic emblem of the former Spanish Kingdom of Castile.
Castle, which was located on the left side of the Serra Memorial, depicts the heraldic emblem of the former Spanish Kingdom of Castile.
One of four identical heads created in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. It was located on the Varied Industries Building facade.
One of four identical heads created in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. It was located on the Varied Industries Building facade.
Plaster models of famous 17th century Spanish painters Velazquez, Murillo and Zurbaran.  Used to cast sculptures above what is now the San Diego Museum of Art.
Plaster models designed in 1924 of famous 17th century Spanish painters Velazquez, Murillo and Zurbaran. Used to cast sculptures above what is now the San Diego Museum of Art.
This round staff plaster Spanish Conquistador vignette, dated 1914, formed a pendant beneath sculptural groups on the Varied Industries Building.
This round staff plaster Spanish Conquistador vignette, dated 1914, formed a pendant beneath sculptural groups on the Varied Industries Building.
Freestanding figure of a woman in flowing robes titled Religion.  It stood atop the 1914 retablo of the Varied Industries Building.
Freestanding figure of a woman in flowing robes titled Religion. It stood atop the 1914 retablo of the Varied Industries Building.
Unused cast concrete replica of an original 1914 angel head finial.  Cast for the 1971 reconstruction of the Casa del Prado.
Unused cast concrete replica of an original 1914 angel head finial. Created for the 1971 reconstruction of the Casa del Prado.
Beautiful works of art in Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
Beautiful works of art in Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
Plaster column seen through arch of Casa del Prado.
Angelic column seen through arch of Casa del Prado.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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