What!?!??! Iconic Duke Ellington Mural Gone From True Reformer Building on U Street

Holy cow, the great Duke Ellington mural on the side of the True Reformer Building at 1200 U Street, NW has been removed. Here’s what it used to look like:

Photo by flickr user @mjb

The dedication plaque remains:

Anyone know why?

Here’s what it looked like in 1979:

Photo via Historic American Buildings Survey

UPDATE from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities:

Two weeks ago, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities took the first steps in restoring the famous G. Byron Peck mural of Duke Ellington on the True Reformer Building (1200 U Street, NW) to its original condition.

The artwork, which was painted on cement panels, was taken down due to elemental decay over the last eight years.

“The Duke Ellington mural is an iconic artwork in Washington,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director at the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Over the years, this mural has become a symbol for the U Street community. We are working diligently to insure that the mural is returned to the community in its original condition.”

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities hired the fine arts services company, ARTEX, to remove, store and prep the mural for damage assessment. Restoration of the mural may take up to one year.

The mural was originally created and installed in 1997 on the side of Mood Indigo, an antique and vintage clothing shop, at 1214 U St., NW. The mural was relocated in 2004 to the True Reformer Building.

12 Comment

  • A friend of mine has an office in that building, I’ll have to find out what happened.

  • I like the Coke sign!!

  • Maybe they needed extra money and sold ad space to Coca Cola.

  • I really like old buildings with the faded old coca-cola or whatever ads on them, but still hope they put Duke back or find an even better place of honor for this memorial/mural.

  • Hopefully Duke’s mural will find a new home. On the flip side, it would be awesome to see the Coke sign go back there.

  • A section of the mural fell down a few months back. The artist and DC govt came, took it down (it is actually a series of 30 some-odd tiles of cement), and will assess its structural integrity before repairing it and (hopefully) returning it to the same spot.

  • I haD a conference in that building while they were taking it down. It is good to hear that people think the mural will go back up, the art handlers that were taking it down weren’t sure.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Yes, the anon post right above you told as the details at 11:19am 🙂

  • I hope they’re able to restore it. It’s a really nice mural.

  • No offence, but isn’t there is enough Duke Ellington memorials/murals/tributes/bridges/tunnels/you-name-it around the city? And IMHO that mural was not one of our city’s best. But different strokes I guess..

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