Lorado Taft: the Chicago Years

Lorado Taft: the Chicago Years


Most people know Lorado Taft because
they’ve been to Chicago and they’ve seen either the Fountain of the Great Lakes
or they often seen the Fountain of Time, which is on the Midway. This new book,
“Lorado Taft: the Chicago Years”, will also bring out the side of him as an educator,
which will show that he was rather an equal opportunity employer and educator
at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught women, minorities,
African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, everyone worked together in his studio
as equals, as associates. Lorado Taft was an important element of the Chicago
World’s Fair of 1893, he helped build the sculpture that was on several of the
buildings at the World’s Fair. In 1910 he held a big press conference in which he
presented his plans for the Midway, that is that long strip of land that goes
from Jackson Park all the way out to Washington Park. On one end he wanted to put in a Fountain of Time, which was eventually built in the 1920s, on the
other end he was going to build a massive fountain called the Fountain of
Creation. The two fountains would be connected by a long canal, and that canal
would have three major bridges on it and be surrounded by a park with large
sculptures. Most of this was never realized, however, Taft made carefully
made models of every component of this plan. The Fountain of Creation would have involved about 38 to 40 figures built in a semicircular shape around a large pool,
and at the very center is the main story of the Fountain of Creation is based on
the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha. This is an ancient Greek myth that Deucalion
and Pyrrha were going to be the only two humans left alive after the gods flooded
the entire world and erased the human race. After the flood, Deucalion and
Pyrrha appealed to the gods and asked them, how are we going to repopulate the
earth? The Oracle answered with a riddle, the
riddle was that they must throw the bones of their mother over their
shoulders. Deucalian and Pyrrha interpreted the riddle as the bones
being the stones of mother earth. They tossed those over
their shoulders and when these stones hit the ground they turned it to new
human beings, a new race of humans was born. Here you can see them just
after they’ve tossed these things over their shoulders and some of their
children are beginning to coalesce around them. The rest of the fountain had
figures in different states of coming into being, changing from a stone into a
human being, only four of those were actually carved in full scale. Here I am
standing by the daughters of Deucalion and Pyrrha, as the stone changes into a
body you see these bodies emerging directly from the rough hewn block. It
goes to a painful process of transformation,
these figures are grabbing their heads, they’re coming into being, they’re
twisting, they’re forming new bodies. “Lorado Taft: the Chicago Years”, not only
focuses on 50 years of Taft’s career, from 1886 when he returned from France to
Chicago until his death in 1936, it talks about nearly every major work that the
Lorado Taft ever made.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *