November 21, 2023
Valley Health System is pleased to display panels from Polish-born artist Stefan Knapp’s mural entitled “The World” on the grounds of The Valley Hospital in Paramus. The mural was prominently displayed for decades on the exterior of Alexander’s department store in Paramus, New Jersey.
In 1961, Knapp, a WWII prison camp survivor, was commissioned to paint the 280-panel mural, to be displayed on the exterior of Alexander’s. The design of the mural was said to be a map of the world, inspired by the views he saw while flying as a pilot for the Royal Airforce. The mural became one of Paramus’ most well-known landmarks. The store closed in 1992, and when the building was torn down in 1998, the panels were disassembled and placed in storage where they have remained for the past 25 years.
“A healing environment provided to patients and their families plays a crucial role in recovery. This environment includes various elements such as amenities, lighting, room temperature, sound, and art,” said Audrey Meyers, President and CEO of Valley Health System. “Whether our patients are appreciating the beauty of the panels from their room or a family member is walking past the panels in the gardens, we believe the beauty of the art will aid in the healing process for our patients and their families.”
Valley Health System acquired the panels in 2021, an acquisition spearheaded by Robin Goldfischer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, for Valley Health System.
Working with conservators from Aegis Restauro, LLC, the conservation of the Stefan Knapp panels included meticulously cleaning each panel of art and reinforcing their metal frames. The two-year project was completed this year.
Twenty-four of the panels are now proudly displayed in the gardens at The Valley Hospital in Paramus. When the hospital opens in April, visitors will be able to stroll along walking paths and admire the beauty of this artwork up close. Additionally, a display of the panels that feature Knapp’s signature is located inside the hospital near the hospital’s conference center, steps from the front entrance.
“The Knapp panels long served as a landmark in the Borough of Paramus. We are proud to have returned the panels to our community where they will remain for generations to come,” said Goldfischer.
Forty-eight of the panels will be displayed in different Valley Health System locations, including the new hospital, a medical arts building located at 140 East Ridgewood Avenue, in Paramus, and the Robert and Audrey Luckow Pavilion, which houses Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care and a same-day surgery center.
The Valley Hospital in Paramus will open its doors on Sunday, April 14, 2024. For more information about the progress of The Valley Hospital in Paramus, please visit ValleyHealth.com/NewHospital.