Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CBOT: Sculptural Reliefs [By Alvin Meyer]

Chicago Board of Trade Building..
Architects: Holabird & Root
Sculptural Reliefs: Alvin Meyer
Completed: 1930
The building was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 4, 1977.
It is also a National Historic Landmark..

Artwork in the Chicago Board of Trade [CBOT] building inludes:
- Sculptures in it's plaza [Agriculture and Industry click here..]..
- Sculptural reliefs by Alvin Meyer..
- Ceres, by John Bradley Storrs.. click here..

The sculptural relief works on the building's facade facing the LaSalle Street [North side].. In the center, is a 13 ft diameter clock and on each side of the clock is a hooded figure, an Egyptian holding grain and a Native American holding corn. The relief work is by Alvin Meyer, one time a leader of Holabird & Root's sculpture department.

There are similar figures at the uppermost corners of the central tower..

Faces [bull??] protruding from the limestone cladding on the building's facade..

Logo of Chicago Board of Trade..

The CBOT logo inculcated in the building clock..

Sculptor: John Bradley Storrs
Description: Aluminium, 32-foot tall..
Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain and the patron saint of corn traders.
# For more.. click here..

Agriculture and Industry..
Sculptor: Unknown
Location: The Chicago Board of Trade plaza
Description: Granite / 12 foot high / Five-&-half ton weight..
# For more.. click here..

Sculptural Relief by Alvin Meyer..
Alvin Meyer, who made the sculptural reliefs for the Chicago Board of Trade building also made reliefs for the Riverside Plaza.. It traces the history of printing..
# For more on.. click here..

# For more on Architectural Sculptures.. click here..


Anonymous said...

Alvin Meyer was not just the sculptor behind the relief work found on the CBOT Building, but was also the creator of the free-standing "Statue of Industry" and "Statue of Agriculture" found in the building's plaza. Indeed, as you mention in your blog, he was the head of Holabird & Root's architectural sculpture department at the time of the building's creation. As such, he was, personally, behind each and every choice of artwork found on, in, and around the high rise. This included all that interesting symbolism found throughout the building's fa├žade, not to mention personally choosing the John Stoor statue that stands looking over us all.

Jyoti said...

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You can comment here or email me..


Unknown said...

Hello, I'd love to hear more information of Alvin Meyer. I am a third generation ancestor of him. Please, email me with anything you know. I'd love to learn a bit about him.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

While the style is a tad different from his usual Art Deco flair, Alvin Meyer also sculpted Industry and Agriculture. (He was also a central figure behind the architectural development of the "plaza" as a way for people to enjoy art while taking their leisure outside of the working environment.)

Unknown said...

"...a tad different from his usual Art Deco flair"?

snort. just to set the record straight.

The sculptor(s) of Industry and Agriculture are unknown. So far. They're granite, and they appeared above the central clocktower entrance of W.W. Boyington's 1885 Broad of Trade building. That was eight years before Alvin Meyer was born -- in Bartlett. That's a punishing commute for a negative-eight-year-old. The only person known to have worked on the 1885 BOT was a fellow from Indianapolis named John Mahoney, but for a bas-relief, not these two figures.

Unknown said...

Alvin Meyer was my great uncle. His brother August Meyer, was my grandfather. What a talent he was. Can't wait to see his work in person. I have at least one picture of him when he was a young man, still living in Cambridge, MD. My father remembers him & has told me stories about what an incredible artist he was.

John Snell said...

Just came upon this blog. between 1970-1975 my wife and I lived in an artist's studio that Alvin Meyer built on Lattin Road just north of Pentwater, Michigan. His daughter Louisa lived nearby and we came to an agreement that we could live there in exchange for fixing it up. It had not been lived in for awhile prior and had suffered from some vandalism, but it was a magical place right on a small stream. The main building was made of yellow brick with timber framing, lofts on both ends, and a large set of north facing windows. Attached to the back was a log building. A separate brick and timber garage stood to the side and was connected to the main house by a wall with a series of arches. Along the beautiful little stream were remnants of several sculpted fountains and on the inside wall of the house was a plaster relief of Hammurabi. We modified the building by adding 1" of foam insulation on the interior but it was always cold regardless. After we moved in 1975, tenants moved in and the place burned down several years later. His daughter still lives on the property in a home she built. I'd be happy to provide some photos if there is an interest.