When you think of the Palouse, you think of rolling hills, waving fields of grain, maybe even Washington State University.
But you probably don’t think of frescos. Especially not Oriental-themed frescos. Yet, that’s what you’ll find here in the historic Hotel Revere. Located on the west wall of the Brick Addition, in the area that was the bar for the restaurant, you’ll find this lovely painting. Composed of one and two-masted sailing ships in a harbor with pine trees and an Oriental building with smoke coming out of its chimney. Even the “frame” was painted on the wall.
No one that we talked to when we purchased this building in 1999 seemed to remember this painting. That’s probably because it was covered up for decades under “modern” paneling that was put up on the plastered walls of the restaurant. You can see the holes in the painting and the plaster. That’s where the paneling was nailed up. Probably in the 1950s as part of a modernizing project in this old hotel.
One of the interesting things about this painting is that while the smoke coming from the building on the shore is blowing to the left, the sails of the many ships in the harbor are all filling to the right. That lets you know the artist probably wasn’t a native Pomeranian because while the wind is usually blowing in this little valley, it’s always blowing the same direction.
What’s a fresco? It’s a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.
I apologize for the quality and layout of the photos in this post. The fresco is on the wall in the area of the room that we are using for our wood shop. There’s a big (4′ wide by 7′ tall) set of shelves right in the way so I couldn’t take a “straight on” photo. And part of the painting is “cut off” by the “wall” we built to keep the tools from walking off when contractors would come by and do their stuff.