Monday, August 23, 2010

Lorado Taft [Various sculptures in Chicago]

Lorado Taft [center] self-portrait at the sculpture "Fountain of Time"..

Lorado Taft is my all-time favourite Chicago sculptor.  I love Taft's figure sculptures! These are more in the Beaux Arts tradition, amply found in Chicago. Taft's works were detailed. He gave shape to lofty ideas and championed symbolism. In fact,Taft never espoused modernism. Although a dominant and significant figure in Chicago's art history, his style has largely been rejected by younger generation [which is more in synch with international trends in sculptures towards minimalism and abstraction]..


Lorado Taft [1860-1936].. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degree from the University of Illinois and trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris [in 1880's]. After returning from Paris he became an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago and taught at the University of Chicago. In 1903, Taft published "History of American Sculpture", the country's first serious history of American plastic arts. He opened Midway Studios, a "traditional atelier," where he instructed and cultivate aspiring artists. In 1891, Lorado Taft was commissioned to create a sculpture for the Horticultural Building at the World's Columbian Exposition..He became a champion of women sculptors, including the infamous “White Rabbits”. [More on it at the end of the post, scroll down]. Taft was the founder of the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony..

Here are some of Lorado Taft's works in Chicago..
Check out my Album on Lorado Taft, on Facebook.. click here..

Solitude of the Soul..
Sculptor: Lorado Taft
1914 / Marble
Location: Art Institute of Chicago
Galleries of American Art - Sculpture Court [Gallery: 161]..

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.
# For more.. click here..

Fountain of Time..
By Lorado Taft ...
Reflecting pool: Howard Van Doren Shaw
1922 / Concrete
Location: Western edge of the Midway Plaisance in the Washington Park ..
Washington Park is registered in the National Register of Historic Places, and this sculpture is a contributing structure in this achievement ..
Commissioned by the B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund, to commemorate the first 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain, resulting from the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 ...
# For more on Fountain of Time, click here..

The Iroquois Memorial Tablet [1912]
The bronze bas-relief plaque was created by Lorado Taft, a renowned Chicago sculptor, to commemorate the Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903.
# For more on "Iroquis Memorial Tablet" - click here..

By Lorado Taft..
1913 / Marble..
Location: Garfield Park..
Check out it's companion sculpture "Pastoral"..
The marker reads..
These "little whimsies... represent care-free maiden and faun-like youth of some remote period as they idle and play in the forests of Arcadia. It was my thought merely to make something graceful and appropiatre for the greenhouse, something that would add to the impressions of fairyland which strikes all visitors in that wonderful place."
# More on Pastoral.. click here..
# More on Idyl.. click here..

By Lorado Taft..
1913 / Marble
Location: Garfield Park..
Also in Garfield Park it's companion sculpture "Idyl"..
The marker reads..
Sculptor Lorado Taft originally crafted this pair of sculptures in plaster for a 1909 art exhibition in Garfield Park garden. In 1913, they were executed in marble and placed at the entrance of Garfield Park Conservatory's Palm House..
# More on Pastoral.. click here..
# More on Idyl.. click here..

Eternal Silence /Statue of Death..
By Lorado Taft
1909/ Bronze..
Graceland Cemetery..
Dexter Graves [1789-1844] .. was one of the first settlers who, according to the inscription on the back of the polished black granite slab, “brought the first colony to Chicago, consisting of 13 families, arriving here July 15, 1831 from Ashtabula, Ohio, on the schooner Telegraph.”
Also in Graceland Cenetery is Taft's Crusader..
# For more on Eternal Silence.. click here ..
# For more on Crusader.. click here..

The Crusader..
1931 /Granite
Tomb of Victor F. Lawson
Graceland Cemetery..
Crusader, a huge granite statue of a knight in armor was carved by Lorado Taft in 1931.. Crusader marks the grave of newspaper publisher Victor Lawson [1850-1925], who established the Chicago Daily News in 1875..
Also in Graceland Cenetery is Taft's Eternal Silence..
# For more on Crusader.. click here..
# For more on Eternal Silence.. click here ..

Heald Square Monument..
George Washington, Robert Morris and Hyam Salomon Memorial holding hands ..
Sculptor: Lorado Taft ..
Completed: 1941
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: September 15, 1971
Commissioned by The Patriotic Foundation of Chicago..
Heald Square Monument honors Nathan Heald, commander of Fort Dearborn from 1810-1812.. In the statue we see George Washington is portrayed clasping the hands of two of his civilian supporters, Robert Morris and Hyam Salomon. These these two men could be called the financiers of the American Revolution. Lorado Taft, whose forebears fought in the Revolutionary War, designed the monument, which become his last work. It was completed by Leonard Crunelle..
# For more, click here..

Some of his famous works outside of Chicago are..
- "Columbus Fountain" [1912] at Union Station Plaza, Washington,  click here ...
- " Eternal Indian"  / "Blackhawk" [1911] statue at Oregon, Illinois, click here...
- "Alma Mater" [1929] at Urbana, click here...
- "Lincoln, the Young Lawyer" [1927] at Urbana,
- "Pioneer" in Elmwood..
Tivia: His relief sculptures at the World's Columbian Exposition, Horticulture Building, were named, "The Sleep of Flowers" and "The Awakening of Flowers"..

White Rabbits
White Rabbits was the name given to a group of women sculptors who worked with Lorado Taft at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Wikipedia informs.. click here..
As the date of the opening grew closer Taft realized that he would not be able to complete the decorations and discovering that all the male sculptors to be had were already employed elsewhere. So he asked Burnham if he could use women assistants, an occurrence that was virtually unheard of at that time. Burnham's reply was that Taft could, "Hire anyone, even white rabbits, if they can get the work done." Taft, an instructor of sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute, who had many qualified women students and who frequently employed women assistants himself, brought in a group of women assistants who were promptly dubbed "the White Rabbits." From the ranks of the White Rabbits were to emerge some of the most talented and successful women sculptors of the next generation.
These were..
Julia Bracken (Wendt), Carol Brooks (MacNeil), Helen Farnsworth Mears, Margaret Gerow (Proctor), Mary Lawrence (Tonetti), Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Janet Scudder, Enid Yandell..

Lorado Taft in Chicago
Lorado Taft - Fountain of Time [1922, Hyde Park]
Lorado Taft - Fountain of the Great Lakes [1913, AIC]
Lorado Taft - Solitude of Soul [1914, AIC]
Lorado Taft - The Iroquois Memorial Tablet [1912]
Lorado Taft - Pastoral [1913 - Garfield Park Conservatory]
Lorado Taft - Idyl [1913, Garfield Park Conservatory]
Lorado Taft - Eternal Silence [1909, Graceland Cemetery]
Lorado Taft - Crusader [Graceland Cemetery]
Lorado Taft and Leonard Crunelle - Heald Square Monument


Lynn Allyn Young said...

I've just written a picture biography of Lorado Taft, BEAUTIFUL DREAMER: The Completed Works and Unfulfilled Plans of Sculptor Lorado Taft, (There's a blog on the site as well.) I love your photos and would like list a link to your site. Would you please give me permission? And please "like" me on Facebook, at Beautiful Dreamer. Lorado Taft! Lynn Allyn Young

authorsbroadcast said...

Growing up and going to school on the Southside of Chicago I passed the famous "Fountain of Time" statue at the end of the Midway on the the U of C campus many times, and often sat in the small plaza on the south end of the Art Institute that features the Great Lakes waterfall sculpture. The opening segment of this episode of "Authors Showcase" features an informative statement from the author of "Beautiful Dreamer" about the works and life of sculptor Lorado Taft.