The Detroit Institute of Arts is examining 13 Diego Rivera cartoon images

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Detroit Institute of Arts is taking 13 of Diego Rivera's full-scale drawings, known as cartoons, that he created in preparation for the painting of the DIA's "Detroit Industry" murals and examining and digitally photographing them.

It has been over 30 years since these drawings have been looked at and this will be the first time that they will be digitally photographed.

A grant from Bank of America's Art Conservation Project has allowed for this to be able to happen. The grant will also fund any conservation work that is necessary on the delicate drawings as well as provide mounts with a custom-built lighting scheme and climate control that will make the drawings suitable for public display.

The project started on July 22 and will run through Friday.

"As art conservation consumes ever greater portions of tightened museum budgets, the need for private arts funding has become even more critical," said Matt Elliott, the Michigan Market President of Bank of America. "We are honored to help preserve a work of art that is culturally and historically significant to Detroit, a city in which we have done business for more than 120 years."

The cartoons were last on view in 1986. They cannot be loaned to other museums due to the fragility and size of them and have been kept in a climate-controlled custom storage space in the museum.

"Bank of America's generous grant enables us to establish a much needed digital record of these significant drawings," said DIA director Graham W.J. Beal. "Because the drawings are too fragile to leave the museum, the digital photographs will provide researchers and scholars access to an important aspect of Rivera's work."

A DIA Press Release said that "Detroit Industry" was completed by Rivera in 1933. The murals are based on the Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant which was, at the time, considered state-of-the-art. The 13 cartoons drawn by Rivera were done in 1932 in preparation for the mural he would be painting. When he completed the work, he gave the drawings to the DIA.

Five of the drawings will be making an appearance again when they are part of a 2015 exhibit. The exhibit will feature work done by Rivera and Frida Kahlo during their time in Detroit.

These cartoons will allow visitors a better understanding of  Rivera's working process and provide more insight into how the "Detroit Industry" murals were created.

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