In 1946, Bromberg was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Painting and was included in the Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Jewry.

Three years later, he was hired as an Associate Professor of Design at North Carolina State College’s newly organized School of Design. The staff included Lewis Mumford, Buckminster Fuller, Matthew Nowicki, Edward Catalano, James Fitzgibbon, Roy Gussow, and George Matsumoto. Visiting luminaries included Mies Van der Rohe, Naum Gabo, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Both students and faculty members were influenced by the giants of modern architecture, many of who made the long trek to Raleigh from Chicago, San Francisco, Paris and Madrid to lecture and teach.

In 1953, Bromberg was commissioned to design a mural for the new college union. He recalls, “My own general idea was first about the unconventional use of a common material, plaster, and, secondly, the subject matter. I wanted to create a wall like the Lascaux cave drawings, to put down the 'know how' of man as I knew it to be at that time in 1953, with the end result a form of graffiti, like on a bathroom wall, signifying ‘Kilroy was here’.“

The completed avant-garde mural, 10 x 40 feet, is constructed of colored plaster abstractions in strata layers, done on a metal lathe, using a scratch coat. The wall contains over sixty of the most widely used formulas and symbols of the various departments of the college at that time, such as a parabola, an epidermal leaf cell, Freud’s theory of ego, a vector diagram of an electromagnetic wave, a football diagram and two ancient Greek letters. The mural is arranged in a pattern, which Bromberg calls the “union of science and art.”

A daring experiment at the time, Bromberg’s visionary plaster mural stands today as a formidable work of art and as a designated Historic Site. Mural commissions followed. One in 1963 consisted of two walls, 900 square feet, for a professional building in Teaneck New Jersey, designed by New York City architect A.W. Geller. The finished mural, made with the help of union plasterers, held 10,000 pounds of polychrome cement.



Manuel Bromberg  |  copyright 2022  |  email Manuel Bromberg