From 1904, when they met in St. Louis, until 1927, Leon Hermant and Carl Beil were partners at their Sculpture Studio at 21 East Pearson Street in Chicago.  Leon was the Artist.  Carl, the "Executioner.'  Hermant continued his art after Beil's death in 1927, receiving a major commission for the Indiana State Library in 1934.  His images were carved, in Indianapolis, by German sculptor Adolph Wolter. Below are seven small panels from the East and North Facades of the Library.

Where credit for any work of art ends with the artist and begins with technnician is an interesting question.  What would Louis Sullivan be without Christian Schneider?  Or Lorado Taft without Jules Bercham?  Each of these seven vignettes is charming, attractive -- but seem to lack the strength of Hermant's  earlier work with Beil at the Medinah Athletic or  Illinois Athletic Club. Was it a broken partnership or simply the inability of a Beaux Arts artist to enter the new world of Deco? 



"It does not prove a thing to be right because the majority say it is so."  FRIEDRICH SCHILLER

I have been fascinated by Richard Nickel's photographs of the Portrait Busts, taken just prior to demolition at the Schiller Building.  And even more fascinated by the Busts themselves.  How is it possible that these important fragments from what is arguably one of the most important buildings produced by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan have ended up scattered across the City instead of enshrined on the Grand Staircase at the Art Institute of Chicago?

 Who cares?  Anybody?



And even with a little research, even more questions surface.  Who sculpted them?  Who do they depict?  Reidy attributes the Busts to Richard Bock.  But Bock's autobiography, edited by his daughter Dorothi mentions only the Schiller's interior tympanums.  A later monograph by Chicago historians John Vinci and Timothy Samuelson credit the modeling to Frederick Almenraeder (Bock's mentor and later co-worker at North Western).  But the North Western Terra Cotta records that might have confirmed that, as well as who the Busts depict, were lost in a fire. 

Photographs show twelve busts at the second floor with as many as 24 near the tower cornice. (Some, of course, may have been duplicates.)  And yet, I've only discovered 7 extant (including the one I just learned of on Geneva Terrace).  Where are the rest?  Rumors abound.  And speculation. Lot's of speculation.
So here's mine.  (Why not?)  Almenraeder and Bock may well have worked on these portrait heads together -- all the heads are good, but not stylistically consistent. (I'll give the more Baroque "Engels" to Ecole trained, Bock.)  Bock and  Almenraeder were friends and both had simultaneous formalized assignments on the Schiller Building -- and the Portrait commission was too big for one person. As for the identity, I'll trust Bob Burton's research for four of them as follows:

Fritz Reuter

Yaakov Liebmann Meyerbeer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Gotthold Ephram Lessing

And for the following two, I suggest these for your consideration:

Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Schiller

And for the location of the remaining work?  Richard Nickel knows.  Knows where every one of them are.  And is holding on to that secret until he knows that these fragments of history and art will be appreciated.  And safe.  Which may just be a very, very long time.






With a sculptor so closely associated with Chicago, as certainly is Daniel Chester French, it is possible to believe that he belongs to us.


His statue "The Republic" overlooked the Grand Basin (and the Manufacturer's Building ) at the World's Columbian Exhibition in 1893 and its golden replica (now a Chicago Landmark) dominates East Hayes Drive in Jackson Park.  The original was second in size only to New York's Statue of Liberty.  (And here I'll have to admit that I can't imagine Daniel Burnham building the "second biggest" anything -- especially with New York as the competition.)  But still, almost as big  WAS still big.

 I stumbled onto French's allegorical works "Manhattan" and "Brooklyn," while researching the "1917 American Architect."   Daniel Chester French's sculpture is national in scope.  With a  substantial amount of work in New York.  I shouldn't have been surprised.
"BROOKLYN" at the Manhattan Bridge
"MANHATTAN" at the Manhattan Bridge.  (Is that a peacock I see?)

Chicago has a history of bringing home the best.  And making it our own.



Gustave Eiffel is most famously credited with the internal structure of the Statue of Liberty.  But it was Norwegian born structural engineer Joachim Giaver, who, while chief engineer for the Schiffler Bridge Company of Pittsburgh, designed the internal framework. Giaver went on to become William Shankland's assistant at the Columbian Exposition, where he is credited with the design of the largest three hinge arch in the world  --  at the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building.  Daniel Burnham didn't waste any time after the fair. He hired Giaver at D.H. Burnham & Company -- where he engineered innovative foundations and structural steel frames for Burnham's classic skyscrapers for seventeen years (before setting up independent shop with Burnham designer Frederick Dinkelberg.)


A reputation earned at the Columbian Exposition could support a lifelong career.  Carl Beil, Superintendent of Sculpture at the Chicago Fair formed a long and successful partnership with Leon Hermant (French Sculptor at the Saint Louis Fair).  To see their work in Chicago, link <HERE>


I would really like a photograph of Carl Beil!


Architect Peter Weber assisted Charles Atwood at the Chicago World's Fair and later at D.H. Burnham & Company.  He worked under his own name after 1902.  His work, at all places, however, is so personally consistent that he may not be getting the full credit due for his work. 

Animal Bridge. Jackson Park.  Peter Weber 1903

Animal Bridge. Jackson Park.  Peter Weber 1903

Gargoyle. Fisher Building. D.H. Burnham and Co.1896

The fantastic creatures on South Dearborn and in Jackson Park are surely from the same fertile imagination.  For more information on the Animal Bridge, link HERE.



PHILIP MARTINY. Chicago 1893

++++Philip Martiny was born in Strasbourg, Alsace Lorraine, in 1858 and worked in Paris at the atelier of sculptor Eugene Dock . In 1878 he emigrated to the United States, where he accepted a position as assistant to Augustus Saint Gaudens at the Cornish Studio. In 1873 Martiny established his own Studio on Macdougal Alley in Greenwich Village, New York.

Major commissions include work at Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition. Buffalo’s 1901 Pan American Exposition and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1907 in St. Louis. Martini died in New York in 1927.
THE PARTHENON FRIEZE. At the Art Institute of Chicago

++++In 1892 Martiny spent a year living in Chicago to create sculpture for the Agriculture and Fine Arts Buildings at the Columbian Exposition, and the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. Although much of Martiny’s work at the Fair is lost, the sculptural reliefs at the Art Institute remain in excellent condition



Some of Beil and Hermant's work appears to be conceptual.  Other's however, are clearly portraiture.  Whose is the thoughtful face shown below?  It is clearly not of the same hand or style as those above.



It feels like the end of winter, though still windy The light is changing wildly.  Today, I'll let the camera do the talking.

ACROTERION. A Deco Interpretation

Alfred Shaw came into his own at Graham Anderson Probst and White after Peirce Anderson's death in 1924.  Shaw quickly moved away from Anderson's (and Burnham's) flat-roofed classicism to peaked roofs and interpretive ornament. 



At the Pittsfield Building, the classic acroterion becomes an American Eagle.  At the Merchandise Mart, it is a Native American.  They still, however,  represent the classic tradition of  Sculptor and Architect working in close partnership  -- a tradition soon destroyed by depression and war. 

The Sculptor is unknown to this blogger.  Any clues would be much appreciated.