HENRY HERING. Marquette Park

By the time Henry Hering was commissioned by W.P.Gleason to sculpt Father Marquette for Marquette Park, in Gary, Indiana, he had been "on the road" for some forty years. Hering had made his first mark at Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Then, the Field Museum, the Michigan Avenue Bridge Towers, and the Civic Opera Block. But, by 1931 the Beaux Arts style, in which he had been trained, was giving way to Art Deco. And beyond this, the world of figural sculpture was about to change forever. Few figural sculptors would outlast the Depression and the War. At the time of this commission, Hering's work was almost hopelessly out of date. And commissions were few and far between.

Who would have guessed, after a life of accomplishments, his finest work would belong to Marquette Park? The Victorian fussiness of the Palace of Fine Arts is gone. And the stilted classicism of the Field Museum. The touch of Deco experimentation at the Civic Opera block is nowhere to be seen. Nor the hints of the Arts and Crafts glimpsed on Edward Bennetts' Bridge Towers. Father Marquette steps firmly forward, lips parted, cross defiantly, realistically lifted to the smoke filled skies of Gary, Indiana in a style and vision that clearly belongs to Hering alone. And another era.

Note the Father Marquette's Crucifix. Take another look at it at Images in the Loop

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