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Allyn Cox papers, 1856-1982

Biographical Note

New York, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. painter and muralist, Allyn Cox (1896-1982), was born in New York City to artists Kenyon and Louise Cox. Cox first trained as his father's assistant, serving as an apprentice to Kenyon Cox during the painting of the murals at the Wisconsin State Capitol, circa 1912. He attended the National Academy of Design from 1910-1915, and the Art Student's League with George Bridgman in 1915. In 1916 he was awarded the Prix de Rome and subsequently studied at the American Academy in Rome for 2 years before returning to New York City to begin a career in mural painting.
Cox completed numerous murals and decorative paintings for private residences, businesses, churches, and public buildings. Some of his most famous commissions included murals for the Royal Arch Room and Memorial Hall of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia; the Law School at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and the William A. Clark Memorial Library at the University of California, Los Angeles; panels for the National City Bank, the Continental Bank, and the Guaranty Trust Company in New York; and glass mosaics and inlaid stone maps for the United States Military Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg.
Cox is best known for his work in the United States Capitol, beginning in 1952 when he undertook a congressional commission to restore and complete the murals in in the Capitol rotunda begun by Constantino Brumidi and Filipo Costaggini in 1878. Over the course of the next two decades Cox, now residing in Washington, D.C., restored the Frieze of American History and the Apotheosis of Washington in the Rotunda, and designed murals for three first-floor corridors in the Capitol's House wing, now known as the Cox Corridors. Assisted by Cliff Young, Cox completed painting for two of these corridors before his death. In 1958 Cox also painted a portrait of Henry Clay for the Senate Reception Room and in 1975 completed a mural depicting the 1969 moon landing in the Brumidi Corridor.
Cox taught at the Art Students League in 1940 and 1941, and was active in professional organizations throughout his career. He served as President of the American Artists Professional League and the National Society of Mural Painters, and Vice President of both the Fine Arts Federation and the New York Architectural League. He was a member of the board of the New York Municipal Art Society and served on the the New York City Art Commission.
Cox retired in March 1982 at the age of 86 and died the following September.