On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
Although the Prairie School style was distinctly American, it did have some European sources. The flat, highly stylized depiction of nature seen in this grille, for instance, is indebted to the English design reform movement of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, in particular the well-known designs of Owen Jones and Christopher Dresser (see illustration below left). The strong curvilinear quality of the central part of the design betrays an incipient knowledge of the French Art Nouveau style.
Cast iron, sheet metal
78 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 1/2 in. (200 x 31.1 x 1.3 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Manhattan Associates through the High Museum of Art, Atlanta
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William B. Mundie (American, 1863-1939). Elevator Grille, 1889. Cast iron, sheet metal, 78 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 1/2 in. (200 x 31.1 x 1.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Manhattan Associates through the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 2013.45. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.2013.45_in_situ2.jpg)
in situ, Elevator Bank, Manhattan Building, Chicago, CUR.2013.45_in_situ2.jpg
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A cast iron elevator grille of elongated form, the upper and lower section with distinct decorative themes divided by a solid rectangular band cast with a wavy pattern and a central opening of rectangular quatrefoil design. The upper section divided by a vertical bow. Above are five pairs of vegetal wing-like designs that terminate at the sides with small scrolls. Below is a large coil motif that asymmetrically splits into opposed coil designs below. The lower section is enclosed by an undecorated frame, the central panel with a simple square grid pattern decorated with circular knobs at the intercies. The whole sits on two cast iron tabs above a narrow band of shallow foliate scrolls.
Overall good condition, some areas of rust and loss of patina, particularly on sides, central section and lower section.
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