Alexander Girard

Custom Mural for the Irwin Union Bank & Trust Company

In 1973, architect Kevin Roche designed a bank building addition to Eero Saarinen’s landmark Irwin Union Bank & Trust Company in Columbus, Indiana. J. Irwin Miller, chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc. commissioned Alexander Girard to create a series of murals for each of the new building’s three floors. This example features sixty-eight panels covered in fabrics Girard designed for Herman Miller. Proceeds from this sale will be donated to Indiana area non-profits for reinvestment in Education, Environment and Social Justice/Equality of Opportunity, the three global priority areas for Cummins. 

Alexander Girard

Born in 1907 in New York to an American mother and French-Italian father, Alexander Girard and his family soon moved to Italy where he was raised in a Florentine villa surrounded by art and antiques. As a boy he filled notebooks with creative design sketches displaying an early attention to detail and interest in other cultures even imaging his own country with regional flags and unique symbolism. Inspiration from international folk art became a staple of his artistic legacy as he amassed thousands of artifacts from around the world. Girard studied architecture in Rome, London and New York as his influential and celebrated career began.

Girard designed and directed the groundbreaking show For Modern Living at the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts in 1949, a predecessor to the Good Design shows hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York which he eventually participated in and juried. While living in Michigan in 1952, he was hired by friend and collaborator Charles Eames at Herman Miller eventually establishing the company’s textile division as Director of Design until 1973. In addition to his collections of fabric and wallpaper, his “Environment Enrichment Panels” promoted humanization of the corporate workplace and in 1967 he released the “Girard Group” collection of furniture.

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