Potter and Berthe Palmer

These two portrait heads are located in the Art Institute of Chicago, and are worth, even, the new price of admission. Sculpted in marble by Hiram Powers in 1871, they depict Potter and Berthe Palmer. Powers died just two years after completing this work. They flank the south side of the Sculpture Court.

Born in Vermont, Powers spent much of his youth in Cincinnati. He was in Florence (that's Italy, not Kentucky) when the Potters purchased these portraits. His most famous work is "The Greek Slave" http://www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/sentimnt/grslvhp.html

Of all the figural sculpture in Chicago's Loop, this pair is a favorite -- for the convergence of Art, Place, History,Celebrity and Style. I think that Potter's head is slightly larger than Berthe's. And on second glance, I'm not exactly sure what he's is thinking. Neither is Berthe!

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