Building Art

Our artwork, donated by graduates or their families, represents ideals that have informed our history.

Justice? Carlos Lopez

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    Location

    First Floor, Atrium

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    Story Behind Justice?

    Circa 1930s

    This sculpture challenges viewers to question notions of justice.  Does it display justice or a lack of justice?  Are the two men trying to influence the judge? Why does a police officer have his hands on a witness? The jury of twelve appears more diverse than one might expect in the 1930s—one appears to be a woman, another elderly, others Black—is that a hopeful sign of what Justice could look like? One of the lawyers appears to be pleading and the other filled with rage.

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    Donor Information

    Donated by the family of John James Beach (LLB ‘49)

    John James Beach (LLB '49), an attorney at Conklin, Benham, McLeod, Ducey, and Ottaway, received the sculpture as payment for legal work from one of the firm’s clients in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It had been disassembled and stored in a garage with exhaust damaging the piece for years. Mr. Beach’s children recall cleaning every inch of the piece with old toothbrushes and mild soap. Thereafter, the wood was treated for protection. On the back of one of the boards was a tag from the Detroit Institute of Arts that identified the piece as Justice? by F. Carlos Lopez.

Justice-Ivo Salinger

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    Location

    First Floor, Hallway off of Atrium

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    Story Behind Justice

    Circa 1920

    In this print of the original etching, Lady Justice frames the drama by towering in the background ready to act: blindfolded, each arm is outstretched, one holding the scales of justice, the other a sword. The central figure is a robed judge protecting a barefooted boy from a faceless, finger-pointing, and angry-fisted mob. The judge is defiant and protective: he cradles the boy’s head with one hand while stretching out his other arm across his body as a shield. The young boy, kneeling, clutches the judge’s robe. Lady Justice and the judge stand together, not only to protect the boy, but all of us, from lawlessness.  On further examination, we see the faces of the judge and the boy are the same.

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    Donor Information

    Donated by Frederick W. Lauck (BA 1965, JD 1969)

    Frank Murphy (1890-1949) bought the original etching in the 1920s in Paris, France (Murphy served as Recorder’s Court Judge, Adjunct at University of Detroit School of Law, Detroit Mayor, Michigan Governor, US Attorney General, and finally, US Supreme Court Associate Justice). John McConnell (a former Wayne County prosecutor) came to have the etching and gave it to Judge Peter E. Deegan (JD 1966) because Deegan’s father, Eugene (a former Judge), was Frank Murphy’s chauffeur when he was Governor of Michigan. The original etching now hangs in St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Peter E. Deegan’s chambers.