john_j_enright (john_j_enright) wrote,
john_j_enright
john_j_enright

Another Michigan Avenue Fountain

I wrote about the new "Crown Fountain" yesterday. Today I spent part of my lunch hour at a much older spectacular fountain just off Michigan Ave. It's a huge piece outside Chicago's Art Institute. It is a five-female-figure piece. Each woman represents one of the Great Lakes. Basically, Miss Superior stands above the others and pours water down all over them. The first place the water hits is the ample bosom of Miss Huron, who looks like she is enjoying the shower immensely. From there the water splashes its way down. At the bottom of the piece, Miss Ontario gazes off into the distance, perhaps out to the ocean.

It's by Lorado Taft. Taft was a turn-of-the-century Illinois sculptor whose work I have always liked. I'm not sure what you call his style. I guess it's neoclassical style, but with some romantic spirit. I first got interested in him when I was in high school, when my Urban Studies class made a field trip to his studio at the University of Chicago.

(No. He wasn't there. I'm not that old. But someone had preserved the place.)

Here's a good long shot of how the Fountain of The Great Lakes looks today:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/OmniSmith/GreatLakes.html

Photo of Taft's spooky tomb:
http://www.graveyards.com/graceland/esilence.html

His "Alma Mater" statue for the University of Illinois:
http://www.uiuc.edu/ricker/CampusTour?target=goToStop&code=1867no

There's a little picture of the fountain here. Click on the little picture and you will get a big pic:
http://www.great-lakes.net/teach/history/art/f_1.html

Here's a set of historical photos of the fountain:
http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/taft/#Lakes

Article about Taft:
http://www.bartleby.com/65/ta/Taft-Lor.html

Here's a little about the studio:
http://www.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/T/TaftMidway.html

Note: I already did my rhyme du jour
So rest content with this sculptural tour.
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