It's been nearly a month since a February diversion to Ivan Mestrovic (and Notre Dame) and an image by Horace Spenser Fiske distracted me from Henry Hering's work at the Michigan Avenue Bridgetowers. This time it will be Fiske that brings me back. Below is Ralph Fletcher Seymour's drawing of the personification of Chicago from Fiske's "Chicago in Picture and Poetry. "

Anyone, in 1929, crossing the Chicago River would have immediately recognized Hering's "Regeneration" as a reinterpretation of flames, surrounding the personification of Chicago. Seymour's drawing would have been part of a common language. As easily recognized as the "Progress" that topped Ward's headquarters. And the Railway Exchange's references to the Word's Fair. Five women at the Art Institute, each pouring water to the next, were the living face of the Great Lakes. Lions were power. Y was the junction of the Chicago Rivers. Oak leaves. Dragons. Grotesques. Unspoken, understood. Universal code.

We need to be kinder to our history. How do we criticize the art of men whose language we neither speak nor remember?


ST.GAUDENS. RHIND. MULLINS. Diana. Progress. The Fair. Aaron Montgomery Ward. Yet Another Look.

In 1886 Augustus Saint Gaudens sculpted (in plaster) "Diana of the Tower" an 18' tall weathervane to be fabricated in copper by the W. H. Mullins Company of Salem, Ohio. Once completed, it stood (spun) atop McKim Mead and White's Madison Square Garden in New York City from October 1891 until September of 1892 when it was deemed too large for that location and moved to the Agriculture Building at the Chicago World's Fair.

Saint Gaudens replaced the larger original with a smaller "Diana of the Tower" at Madison Square Garden, where she stood until 1925, when she was acquired by the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The larger, original "Diana of the Tower" suffered after the 1893 Fair. The bottom half of the figure was "lost to fire after the Exposition's close. Location of the upper half is unknown." (Hmmm.)

John Massey Rhind's adaptation of Saint Gaudens "Diana of the Tower," renamed "Progress" was installed on the Ward Michigan Avenue headquarters on October 10, 1900 --- seven years after the Fire at the Exposition.  The W.H.Mullins Company, who fabricated Gauden's  "Diana" also fabricated  Rhind's "Progress."

In 1929 a four storey pyramid was added to the Montgomery Ward Administration Building on West Chicago Avenue by Schmidt Garden and Martin. The now existing "Progress" was installed there at that time. See photos of previous two posts. Mullins and Company may have been the fabricator.  Again.  Using molds from the original. Which would explain similarities of size and pose.

The original Sculpture of "Progress" was removed from 6 North Michigan Avenue in 1947 (which was not so very long ago) when the tower was demolished. (She disappeared without a trace). A vintage photo confirms that "Progress" was still in place on Michigan Avenue in 1930 -- indicating that both "Progresses" were simultaneously extant. And with that -- one mystery is solved. (If these sources are good.) The Sculpture on West Chicago Avenue was not moved from Ward's Michigan Avenue headquarters. She is a copy. Dressed for the times.

"Progress" became a symbol of Montgomery Ward's. See her in Terra Cotta bas relief in links below. What special attachment did Aaron Montgomery Ward hold for this "Progress?" Why would she occupy the Tower location on Michigan Avenue, and be worth copying - not only on West Chicago Avenue, but throughout the Country?

Speculation begins here. "Progress" is the only nude that I've seen by John Massey Rhind. Her flowing style is not in keeping with his typically heavy, well- balanced figures. But he was of sufficient talent and reputation to repair a Saint Gaudens. A Saint Gaudens heavily damaged by fire. And the collapse of the Agriculture Building following the Fair. A bend of the arm. A leg. Foot. Replace the bow with a spear...... Rebalance her a bit. (Go to, Jyoti. Possible. Maybe?) A Sculpture entirely worthy of Aaron Montgomery Ward. I'd say. She had been, after all, once standing on the tallest building in New York City.  Nude. Spotlit and Spinning. Not to mention her importance at the Fair.
But just how and why does a Saint Gaudens disappear TWICE.?? And here I will quote Laurence F. Jonson, Curator of the Deere Art Collection in 1990 and entirely familiar with Mullins. (A dreamer maybe, but certainly both educated and connected). "Somewhere.....the proud lady might still stand .... viewing the changing scenes with a wise eye.... as magnificent as when she was first created by....Augustus Saint Gaudens.

I like that.

Follow Exceptional Links Below for Original Photos and resources.

Diana of the Tower

John Deere Heritage

Google Images. 1930

Sharlot Hall Museum

Skyscraper Page

Montgomery Ward

Ohio Antiques

Flickr. Diana

Flickr. Ward Terra Cotta

Flickr. Agriculture Building

New York Times

Building Age. Vol 22



J. MASSEY RHIND. Progress. A Second Look.

Is she? Or, isn't she? The J. Massey Rhind "Progress" relocated from the Michigan Avenue Ward Tower to the Montgomery Ward Warehouse Administration Building, that is. Comments on the previous Post (below) necessitate a second look.
The first photo (unaltered) is from Horace Spencer Fiske's 1903 Publication "Chicago in Picture & Poetry." "Like Mercury touching a hilltop....." Fiske rhymes.  

The  photo immediately below (taken from ground level approximately 3 blocks west of the Administration Building) has been rotated to match the angle of pose of the original above -- a modification that could conceivably have taken place in the "move." It has also been resized for comparison.        

The detail of shoulder and foot (above) are included for further comparison.

And well, uh,  ..... Jyoti is right. Taking into all consideration foreshortening from perspective, the slightly different angle of rotation -- even the blur of the original -- these just aren't the same "Progress." Unless, like, they dropped her, broke her leg, and rebuilt it for West Chicago Avenue.

Highly unlikely.

And so, we have yet another mystery. What happened to the original, original "Progress" credited to Saint Gaudens. And the original credited to Massey. And who is the sculptor of this Progress. And who thought her (even in 1929 -- when they should have been thinking something Deco) worth remaking. This is a problem to ponder --- my kind of problem. Important to be sure. But one that can remain unsolved, indefinitely, without implication or damage.

And one that finds friends in differing opinion.


J. MASSEY RHIND. "Progress." Is She?? or Isn't She??

Montgomery Ward's "Progress" is the subject of some controversy. The National Register says that the Statue was relocated from the Ward Tower at 6 North Michigan Avenue to the Montgomery Ward Administration Building on West Chicago Avenue in 1929. Geoffrey Baer, during one of his Channel 11 "bits" indicated that the original Ward Tower Progress was completely nude, somehow "spun" and was never relocated to West Chicago Avenue.
I was recently reading Horace Spencer Fiske's "Chicago in Pictures and Poetry" ( yes, it was a dark and stormy night....) and discovered the black and whites below: "Progress Lighting the Pathway of Commerce." "Progress" is attributed to Sculptor J. Massey Rhind. And like Geoffrey said, she is nude.

Below is my photograph of Progress taken on West Chicago Avenue in 2008 (and included in my book CHICAGO FIGURAL SCULPTURE.) Comparing the two photos -- pose, feet, triton, torch, hairline --all seem very much the same. The main difference is that the Chicago Avenue "Progress" is clothed. Could it be her new dress is the torch flame reworked from the original?? 

I'm afraid that the Fiske photographs are just a hair too small and blurred to make a confirmation. But, if I had to bet.......

The only one who really knows is this guy (ram's head or devil's horns?) just above those restored Juliet baconies at 6 North -- and we may never get any closer to the truth than this.

For a better look at the Balconies see Lynn Becker's post "Juliet to Return..."


IVAN MESTROVIC. February Diversion.

Ivan Mestrovic's Native American Horsemen in Grant Park have been Chicago Landmarks since the day they were installed in 1928. Mestrovic was no stranger to Chicago. He taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1955 until his death in 1962. Today's post is a pictoral comparison (without comment) of his 1928 "The Spearman and The Bowman" and his 1941 "Pieta" now located in the Basilica of Notre Dame. I photographed the "Pieta" yesterday.... My February Diversion -- and what a great day it was. 

I highly recommend the Snite Museum on the Notre Dame Campus. Beside the hoped-for Mestrovics, of personal interest, were two Richard Howard Hunts, a couple of Rodins, a fine collection of early nineteenth century sculpture and a Steichen tonalist painting.  There's also a Piranesi exhibit --- what's not to like?

1928 was a busy year on Michigan Avenue.  Work was also underway on Henry Hering's Bridge Tower Sculpture "Defense" and "Regeneration,"  the subject of our previous and next post.



I was about to compare the Beaux Arts composition of Henry Hering's Michigan Avenue Bridgetower "Defense" to "Regeneration" which was the subject previous posts. And the allegorical representations thereof......


Let's just look at the pictures.

This is just plain good stuff.


HENRY HERING. Regeneration. Compositions

Edward Bennett's four elegant Bridge Towers define and punctuate the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Each Tower has sculpture dedicated to an important event in Chicago's History. And each Sculpture, similar within a uniform composition, is strikingly varied. Like L'Arc de Triomphe. This is Paris on the Lake. The Burnham Plan of 1909.        

Henry Hering's "Regeneration" (and the remaining three, all subjects of future posts) follows "the drill:" variation within apparent symmetry and similar composition. Below are vignettes that summarize the work: Upper. Lower. Right. Center. Left. Each are compositions that could stand alone. Overlapping elements tie them together. (See Previous Post for Details).          

It must have taken some "talking" to get Hering on the South to agree with Fraser on the North, and William Wrigley, Fraser's benefactor to concur with the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Monument Fund (administered by the Art Institute of Chicago), that financed Hering.      

But they did agree.  And we got the icing on the cake.


And here are two more links.

Cityscape was started in 2006.  Public Art began in 2007 -- these blogs are years long commitments to Art and Architecture in Chicago.