Friday, June 26, 2009

AIC: Fountain of the Great Lakes [South Garden]

Fountain of the Great Lakes
Sculptor: Lorado Taft
Bronze work created between 1907-1913
Location: South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago
First monument commissioned by the B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund,
 as a memorial to B.F.Ferguson.

Fountain of the Great Lakes is an allegorical sculpture by Lorado Taft. As the name suggests, this fountain represents the five great lakes. The five women are so arranged that the water flows through them in the same way water passes through the Great Lakes. 'Superior' is on the top and 'Michigan' on the side both empty into the basin of 'Huron' who sends the stream to 'Erie' whereas 'Ontario' receives the water and gazes off as it flows into the ocean.

Lake Superior

Lake Michigan

Lake Huron

Lake Erie

Lake Ontario

The fountain is Taft's response to Daniel Burnham's complaint at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 that the sculptors charged with ornamenting the fairgrounds failed to produce anything that represented the great natural resources of the west, especially the Great Lakes. The fountain depicts five women that represent the five Great Lakes, and the water flows through them in the same way water passes through the Great Lakes.

The garden surrounding the fountain was designed by the Office of Dan Kiley, who was a renowned late 20th Century landscape architect.

For more on.. [click on the link]..
The Art Institute of Chicago...
# North here..
# South Garden.. click here..
# B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund.. click here..


Conor said...

Correction: Dan Kiley was not a "landscape artist" as you have described him- he was a landscape architect.

Jyoti said...


Anonymous said...

its actually called "women of the great lakes"...not "the fountain of the great lakes". it says it as well as the artist's name on the stone on both the right and left walls