Labor mural removed by Maine gov. back on display

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm •  Published: January 14, 2013

Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman said he sent an email to LePage after the appeals court decision offering to hang the mural in his building, located next to the State House. The Department of Labor is maintaining ownership and is lending the artwork under a renewable three-year agreement.

The mural is historically significant because of the scenes it depicts, Fishman said. But it's also culturally significant given the public response to the governor's decision to remove it in the first place, he said.

"I hope this will make people think about history, about the meaning of art and about art in public places," Fishman said.

The mural has been boxed up and stored in a temperature-controlled space at Department of Labor headquarters since it was taken down, but its whereabouts weren't publicly revealed until Sunday, said Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette.

The attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the state said LePage's decision to display the mural publicly is a victory. Echoing a government attorney's argument two months ago in court, Jeff Young called it "probably the most famous painting in Maine."

The governor had said all along that he wanted to display the mural in an "appropriate place," LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said.

"We would have had it up much sooner if there hadn't been litigation," she said. "That was a huge hindrance in this process."