Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Winold Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal
Fanfare for the Common Man

By Gretchen Garner

Winold Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal
Fanfare for the Common Man

By Gretchen Garner

Winold Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal by Gretchen Garner is a valuable and timely reminder that both the Reiss murals and the terminal itself were on the apex of modernity when created in the early 1930s. … An important record of forward thinking in a city frequently accused of looking backward.”

Cincinnati CityBeat

“Gretchen Garner has performed a high public service with her insightful work on Reiss's Union Terminal mosaics. We know they are highly valued, even cherished, by the people of Cincinnati. Now, thanks to Garner, we can see how they fit into the larger sweep of art history. While it is surprising that this level of study has not been done before, it is very welcome just as nine of the mosaics are returning to the city. The book will help inform and inspire the search for permanent home for these treasures.”

Paul Muller, Executive Director, Cincinnati Preservation Association

“Garner’s easy-to-read outline of Reiss’s work and career builds on previous scholarship…A colorful, accessible, and affordable introduction to Reiss and his public art.”

Indiana Magazine of History

“Garner’s highly readable discussion of the murals covers a wide range of art historical contextualizations, from symbolism, art nouveau, and Der Blaue Reiter to art deco, cubism, Mexican murals, and American regionalism…. This publication does great service both to the general reader interested in the strikingly complex background of Reiss’s murals on American progress and transportation at the Cincinnati Union Terminal and the academic who is sure to find a novel and fascinating visual archive of European American modernism.”

Ohio Valley History

When Winold Reiss won the commission to design and install the immense mosaic murals in the Cincinnati Union Terminal in 1931, he was already a noted artist. After immigrating to the United States from Germany in 1913, he quickly had become a sought-after portraitist and designer of large public art projects.

The Cincinnati Union Terminal murals are extraordinary not only for their size and the boldness of their color and design but also for the artist’s use of mosaic, an unusual choice for the time. After Reiss’s death, he and his work fell into relative obscurity as tastes and trends in art changed. The terminal itself closed in 1972 and was partially demolished. It reopened in 1990, transformed into the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the awe-inspiring murals of the rotunda are once again on view to visitors.

Winold Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal collects full-color images of the mosaic murals, including those rescued before the demolition. Gretchen Garner traces the inception of the mural project and the selection of Reiss to design and construct it, as well as Reiss’s own development as an American artist and the artistic and historical context for the work. In this book, these evocative and vibrant murals—a signal work of public art in Ohio and in the nation—finally get the attention they deserve.

Gretchen Garner is an art historian and the author of Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography. She curated and wrote the exhibition catalogs for Reclaiming Paradise: American Women Photograph the Land and Six Ideas in Photography: A Celebration of Photography’s Sesquicentennial.More info →


Review in Ohio Valley History


Order a print copy

Paperback · $21.56 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $26.95 · Save 20% ($21.56)

Hardcover · $39.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $49.95 · Save 20% ($39.96)

Buy from a local bookstore


US and Canada only

Cover of Winold Reiss and the Cincinnati Union Terminal

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center


Retail price: $26.95, T.
Release date: August 2016
77 illus. · 160 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $49.95, S.
Release date: August 2016
77 illus. · 160 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Related Titles

Cover of 'Rookwood and the American Indian'

Rookwood and the American Indian
Masterpieces of American Art Pottery from the James J. Gardner Collection
By Anita J. Ellis and Susan Labry Meyn
· Foreword by George P. Horse Capture

Rookwood and the American Indian blends anthropology with art history to reveal the relationships between the white settlers and the Native Americans in general, between Cincinnati and the American Indian in particular, and ultimately between Rookwood artists and their Indian friends.

Art Catalog · Ohio and Regional · Ohio · Ceramics

Cover of 'Architecture in Cincinnati'

Architecture in Cincinnati
An Illustrated History of Designing and Building an American City
By Sue Ann Painter
· Photography by Alice Weston

Cincinnati was the first “great” city founded after American independence, and its prodigious growth reflected the rise of the new nation. Its architecture is a testament to that growth and to the importance of the city itself.Architecture in Cincinnati: An Illustrated History of Designing and Building an American City traces the city’s development from the first town plans of the 1780s to the city that it is today, renowned for its dramatic architectural achievements.

Architecture · Urban Planning · Ohio and Regional

Cover of 'Walking the Steps of Cincinnati'

Walking the Steps of Cincinnati
A Guide to the Queen City’s Scenic and Historic Secrets
By Mary Anna DuSablon
· Foreword by Roxanne Qualls

A field guide that will introduce readers and walkers to over two hundred sets of steps within thirty-five urban and neighborhood trails.

Travel - Midwest · Guidebook · Ohio · Midwest

Cover of 'Midwest Modern'

Midwest Modern
The Color Woodcuts of Mabel Hewit
Edited by Jane Glaubinger

The first book to showcase the work of this Ohio artist and important modernist printmaker.

Art · Art History · Ohio and Regional

Sign up to be notified when new Ohio and Regional titles come out.

We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.