A special ceremony will be held at the Hall of Justice in Lansing Tuesday, March 8, 2005 at 4 p.m. to mark the permanent loan of an oil painting of the "Big Four" to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The painting, which belongs to the State Bar of Michigan (SBM), depicts Justices James Campbell, Isaac Christiancy, Thomas Cooley, and Benjamin Graves who served on the Supreme Court together from 1868-1875 and were known as "The Big Four."
The Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of documents, records, and memorabilia relating to the Michigan Supreme Court, will host the event. The Historical Society, founded in 1988 by Chief Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley, produces publications, special events and other projects to achieve its goals in education and restoration.
The president of the State Bar Nancy Diehl, and SBM executive director John Berry are featured speakers at the ceremony.
The artwork, which has been officially appraised in the range of $20,000 to $25,000, was commissioned by Frank G. Mixter (1899–1984) of Detroit, a very successful and prominent civic-minded lawyer who was also a generous community benefactor. Mixter presented the portrait to the State Bar in 1967.
The artist John Stevens Coppin (1904–1986) was a prominent portrait painter, muralist and illustrator. He painted every Michigan governor from Murray Van Wagoner to G. Mennen Williams. Many of his paintings and portraits hang in museums throughout the United States and in Europe.
Left to right: Justice James V. Campbell, Justice Benjamin F. Graves
(standing), Justice Thomas M. Cooley, Justice Isaac P. Christiancy