HOLABIRD AND ROOT. 333 North Michigan. "Deco"

The transition of Chicago's figural sculpture from Neo-classical to Deco is iridescent.  Representing a level of style and creativity not seen before in this City on the River.  By the Lake.  It also represents a "final flaring." 
The combination of Depression and War would forever change sculpture in Chicago.  After a long twenty five years, when the City finally began to rebuild itself,  this would be the art left behind.  And so, for me, at once, Deco is very beautiful and very sad.  These figures grace the elevator doors at 333 North Michigan Avenue.  When it was briefly possible (yet thoroughly modern) to understand the centuries old vocabularies of Apollo and Diana.

I wonder what we might lose this time.



HENRY HERING. One Last Great Adventure

Chicago had been very very good to Henry Hering.  Assistant to Philip Martiny on the Fine Arts Building at the Columbian Exposition.  Then a Commission in his own right to replace that work with permanant stone in 1919.  Followed by The Field Museum's commission for Caryatids, statuary and Allegorical Panels.  The Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Fund selection for two bridgetowers on Michigan Avenue must have seemed too good to be true.  And now, Samuel Insull and the Opera Block.

Hering's work is usually solid.  Staid.  But here, for the first time, there is a sense of softness. He flirts briefly with Deco.  This was his last commission in the area until W. P. Gleason brought him back  in 1931 to Gary Indiana.  For one last great adventure:  Father Marquette striding (in full regalia) from the source of the Grand Calument River.

HENRY HERING. "Defense" Michigan Avenue Bridge Tower. Composition

Compare the composition of Henry Hering's "Defense" to his "Regeneration" discussed in {earlier Posts.}  Typically Beaux Arts, they both utilize a symmetry of balance to organize their images.  I would place the "center of balance" directly under Captain Wells' left foot, which is the centerline of the Bridge Tower.  (The Heald Family escapes to the right.) The images below describe each vignette -- whole, top, bottom, left and right.

Sculptors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries worked in a studio setting with a team of assistants. One of Hering's most notable assistants was his wife and even longer companion. They served together with Augusts Saint Gaudens at the Cornish, in New Hampshire. It looks to me that the Captain Wells and the Indian Chief came from the same hand, probably Hering's. That the Native Americans to the left came from another. And that the Heald Family was created by a third.

The Chicago Loop