Lit

Review: Chicago Monumental Provides View of Public Statues, Fountains, Tombs

 

Larry Broutman, a Chicago-based photographer, has traveled over the world in his quest for travel and wildlife images. He has concentrated on remote tribal cultures and African wildlife. And now he has spent four years in research, location scouting and photography of 250 of Chicago’s public monuments.

The result is his new coffee-table gallery book, Chicago Monumental, recently published by Lake Claremont Press. The large, often full-page color photos are accompanied by short text sections describing each sculpture, its subject and creator. Many of the photos are statues of figures, but public art such as cemetery tombs and fountains are featured too. (See detailed information below on the slider images above.)

Broutman’s book is a beautifully photographed and produced full-color tribute to more than 250 public monuments located in Chicago’s parks, streets, storefronts, bridges, and cemeteries. Many were created by acclaimed sculptors from the past two centuries. The book includes 15 pages of 3D photos that you can view with 3D glasses tucked inside the front cover. (And they work too.)

Chicago Monumental is categorized roughly into chapters on people and themes, but the categories are haphazardly titled and not mutually exclusive. Categories such as Explorers, Statesmen and Leaders, Heroes, and Writers and Artists, could be recombined in myriad ways with War Memorials, Tragedy and Healing, Waters of Memory and Ideas Given Form. A subject index partly makes up for the categorization, with sculpture titles differentiated typographically.

The section on The Law and the Lawless features a group titled Gold-Star Family and the tombs of mobsters Alphonse Capone, James “Big Jim” Colosimo, and Antonio Lombardo. The Heroes section leads off with statues of sports all-stars Michael Jordan, Ernie Banks, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.

In the Writers and Artists series, Broutman’s photos capture the charming Wizard of Oz series of four statues by Chicago sculptor John Kearney located in Oz Park, near Lincoln and Webster. Author L. Frank Baum lived in Humboldt Park during the years he wrote the Oz books. Kearney’s statues of Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy and Toto were installed between 1995 and 2007. Also pictured are the statues of Hans Christian Anderson, Schiller, Goethe, Shakespeare and the Eugene Field Memorial, all located in Lincoln Park.

Mr. Lincoln himself is probably the most familiar figure to his fellow Illinoisans. He’s represented by Broutman in eight works, including the most famous Seated Lincoln (Grant Park) and Standing Lincoln (Lincoln Park), both by Augustus St. Gaudens. The newly famous Abe the Babe statue or Young Abe by Charles Keck is in Edgewater’s Senn Park, near Ridge and Clark.

Chicago Monumental was a finalist for best interior design in the 27th annual Midwest Book Awards, sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishing Association. The book was designed by Carol Haralson.

Chicago Monumental (220 pages, 9.25 x 13.25 inches) is available from Lake Claremont Press, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online stores, and at book and gift shops in the Chicago area. Price ranges from $41 to $50.

Detailed Photo Information

1. Fountain of Time by Lorado Taft in Washington Park Plaisance. Installed in 1922. Inspired by an Austin Dobson poem, Taft spent 14 years creating this sculpture of Father Time with a 110-foot stream of humanity passing him.

2.Oak Park- River Forest War Memorialby Gilbert Riswold in Scoville Green, Oak Park. Installed in 1924. In this tribute to Army, Navy, and Air Force members from Oak Park and River Forest, the figure of Columbia sheathing her sword represents the war’s end.

3.Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountainby architects Bennett, Parsons and Frost and sculptor Marcel François Loyau at Grant Park on Congress Parkway. Installed in 1927. Philanthropist and art patron Kate Buckingham donated $1 million to the city for a fountain dedicated to her brother, Clarence. The fountain uses 15,000 gallons of water per minute and sprays water to a height of 150 feet.

4.St. Adalbert World War I Monumentby an unknown sculptor in St. Adalbert Cemetery, Niles. Installation date unknown. A war monument honoring Marines, Army, Navy, and Haller’s army of 20,000 Polish Americans.

5.The Spirit of Progress(Diana) by George E. Mulligan at Chicago Avenue and the Chicago River. Installed in 1929 on what was formerly the Montgomery Ward Merchandise Building. This 16-foot-tall statue was commissioned by Aaron Montgomery Ward and was modeled after a sculpture of Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

6.Victory, World War Iby Leonard Crunelle on East 35th Street and King Drive. Installed in 1927 and 1936. The state of Illinois erected this monument in honor of those who served in the African-American Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard.

7.Eli Bates Fountainby Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Frederick Macmonnies in Lincoln Park at Stockton Drive and Belden Avenue. Installed in 1887. Eli Bates, a wealthy businessman, left money upon his death for a fountain in Lincoln Park. This fountain is also known as Storks at Play.

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