Thursday, March 10, 2011

Photo of the Week: Spring Sniffle

JWB Photo, 2009

It’s that time of year . . . cold and damp . . . the typical start to the gradual spring run-up to the long awaited summer season that this great city grabs and makes her own.  In the chill the makings of a head cold await, and that’s what apparently has happened to the guy on the far right of Henry Hering’s Regeneration sculpture, the piece located on the southeast pylon of the DuSable Bridge. 

It looks like the muscular lad in the blacksmith’s apron, holding a pair of blacksmith’s tongs in his left hand, has caught himself a little spring sniffle.

Although Regeneration presents a metaphorical display of the city’s astonishing rise from the ashes of the 1871 fire, it looks like our bare-armed blacksmith may be hanging on to his runny nose for awhile.

Regeneration, along with the opposite piece on the southwest pylon (Defense), were works funded by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Fund.  (For more on Ferguson and his legacy, see my February 11, 2011 blog on the Illinois Centennial Monument).

The sculptures on the north pylons (Explorers and Pioneers) were funded by William Wrigley, who would build his new headquarters on the north side of the bridge almost as soon as the bridge was finished. 

Earle Fraser sculpted Explorers and Pioneers on the north side.  Henry Hering sculpted the two works on the south side, where our ailing blacksmith finds himself today.

Hering got his early training under two sculptors who left their mark on Chicago – Augustus Saint-Gaudens (Storks at Play, Standing Lincoln) and Philip Martiny (Art Institute friezes).  He studied at the École des Beaux Arts before returning to the United States, working as an assistant to Saint-Gaudens until Saint-Gaudens’s death in 1907.

The Henry Hering medal is presented for outstanding collaboration between architect, owner and sculptor in the use of sculpture in an architectural project.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

great photo! And interested notes on an often overlooked part of downtown!