"Father Time", "Spirit of the Times", "Gutenberg"

Historical Background

Merrell Gage, 1934. 202 W. 1st Street. 9'H x 3'W
Three niches, 80 feet above the entrance to the Los Angeles Times Building, contain allegorical figures that serve as both architectural embellishment for the moderne styled facade designed by Gordon B. Kaufmann, and as symbols for the newspaper operations within the building. Holding an hour-glass and scythe, "Father Time," on the viewer's left, represents the temporal context within which news is published. The central figure, a medieval knight pinning a beast to the earth with a sword, portrays the "Spirit of The Times" as a vigilant defender of liberty. To the viewer's right, "Gutenberg" depicts the first European to use moveable type (the Chinese invented it at least 600 years earlier), which was essential for the development of the newspaper. Merrell Gage, who designed the figures to be read clearly from the street, carved them directly from limestone panels on the building.

These three figures are part of an extensive art program linking the building to newspaper publishing and Los Angeles history. The doors facing First Street contain six panels depicting subject areas covered by The Times. In the lobby, murals by Hugo Ballin, who executed murals at the Griffith Park Observatory and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, portray the sources of news, the production and distribution of newspapers, and eras in the city's history. A central globe is elevated over a platform with a relief designed by Harold F. Wilson containing scenes in Los Angeles history.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, May, 1998.

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