Building 51 | Building 51 | original late 19th century american ornamental cast iron schlesinger & meyer building baluster fragment designed by louis sullivan – winslow brothers foundry, chicago, il.
9856
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original late 19th century american ornamental cast iron schlesinger & meyer building baluster fragment designed by louis sullivan – winslow brothers foundry, chicago, il.

51-12066-11

Category

Chicago Buildings

About This Item

c. 1899 freestanding ornamental cast iron staircase baluster fragment salvaged from the schlesinger & meyer (carson, pirie, scott building) during renovations necessitated by more stringent building codes. the exceptional and historically important department store baluster piece was fabricated by the winslow brothers company of chicago. comprised of delicately pierced ornamental cast iron with copper-plated finish somewhat intact. provenance report and supplemental materials are available. mounted to a solid maple wood pedestal base. the building was designed by louis sullivan, built in 1899 for the retail firm schlesinger & meyer, and expanded and sold to carson pirie scott in 1904. the building was part of the loop retail historic district. it was used for retail purposes from 1899 until 2007. the building is remarkable for its steel structure, which allowed a dramatic increase in window area, which in turn allowed more daylight into the building interiors, and provided larger displays of merchandise to outside pedestrian traffic. the lavish cast-iron ornamental work above the rounded tower was also meant to be functional. sullivan designed the corner entry to be seen from both state and madison, and that the ornamentation, situated above the entrance, would be literally attractive. the building is one of the classic structures of the chicago school. the ornate decorative panels on the lowest stories of the building are now generally credited to george grant elmslie who was sullivan’s chief draftsman after frank lloyd wright left the firm. when elmslie left the firm himself the same distinct intricate scrollwork panels left with him and appear in his own designs; and sullivan’s style proceeds elsewhere.