Coatings Safeguard Iconic ‘Embrace’


It was the kiss that came to symbolize the emotion behind the end of World War II. Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the moment a U.S. Navy sailor caught a stranger up in a spontaneous smooch in Times Square on V-J Day, when President Harry S. Truman announced the end of the war on Japan.

American artist Seward Johnson recreated the moment in a series of sculptures that celebrate the iconic Times Square kiss between sailor and nurse.

Now, the renowned figures are enhanced and protected exclusively by coatings from Philadelphia-based Axalta Coating Systems.

Adding Corrosion Protection, Durability

The global liquid and powder coatings supplier announced Friday (Dec. 16) that its products had been selected to coat multiple “Embracing Peace” sculptures “from primer to finished product.”

At 25-feet-tall, one of the bronze sculptures stood for about a year at the Memorial de Caen Museum and War Memorial in Caen, France, then was de-installed and moved to the Bastogne War Museum in Belgium.

There are identical castings on permanent view for the public in the United States in San Diego and in Sarasota, FL. A third is on temporary exhibit at the World War II memorial project site in Royal Oak, MI.

The structures are painted with an Axalta two-component epoxy primer, which reportedly delivers excellent durability and good corrosion protection, as well as with its low-VOC waterborne basecoat.

For the topcoat, Axalta’s high-performance high-solid, low-gloss clearcoat was selected for its high durability and long-term protection capability, the company said.

“Seward Johnson sculptures are beautifully made and truly works of art; it is an honor to have three Axalta products chosen and trusted to protect these masterpieces,” said Michael Cash, President, Industrial Coatings.

“To me, this speaks volumes of the confidence our customers have in our technology and determination to provide them with the most durable and aesthetically beautiful solutions.”

Promoting Public Art

The sculptures are owned by The Seward Johnson Atelier Inc., a Hamilton, NJ-based nonprofit foundation that promotes the appreciation of and education about sculpture and public art through the creation, maintenance, sale and public placement of Johnson’s sculptures.

According to the group’s website, it also provides training for artists and skilled craftspersons in modeling, enlarging, casting, fabrication, paint and patina, and offers those production and conservation services for a fee to sculptors and cultural institutions with an emphasis on promoting public art.

About Axalta

With 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, Axalta says its coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. They are used on everything from light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines. The company reportedly employs a staff of approximately 12,800 people, who serve more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries.


Tagged categories: Artists; Axalta; Coating Materials; Corrosion protection; Design; Monuments; North America; Preservation

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.