This post has been updated with information about the mural's creator.
A cryptic mural of two figures kissing -- a longtime fixture of the 14th Street neighborhood -- has been painted over. Where passersby once saw this colorful scene at 1830 14th St. NW, they will now encounter a blank white wall.
The mural was on the side of the former Arts@1830 gallery, which is being turned into an Amsterdam Falafelshop. Dane Cherry, a managing partner for Amsterdam, said that the decision to remove the mural came from the building's landlord. Cherry said that the restaurant even offered to pay for the restoration of the mural, which was flaking off of the wall.
"The mural which existed there prior was illegally painted without our permission and had deteriorated to an eyesore," said Henry Chan of Falston Properties, in an e-mail. He said the company plans to extend Amsterdam's color scheme around the building's exterior. "We are looking forward to renovating 1830 14th Street NW into a professional building to coincide with the other restaurants and business in the area."
"We believe in the preservation of the character of the neighborhood as it continues to evolve, and we certainly promise to do our part in trying to keep that character authentic," said Cherry, in a statement. "Unfortunately, in this particular matter, it was beyond our control."
Cherry hopes that the new restaurant, which is expected to open in early 2014, will be able to frame a picture of the old mural and hang it in the dining room.
The mural is by Larry Mullins, an artist who now lives in California. We'll update this post once we hear from Mullins. "Madre selva," the text on the bottom of the mural, means honeysuckle in Spanish, by the way.