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Baluster Panel, One of Set

Decorative Arts

On View: 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
Louis Sullivan had a great many of these panels cast for the grand staircase in Chicago’s Schlesinger & Mayer department store. Although the panels were always intended for interior use, Sullivan had them patinated to appear as though they had weathered over time outdoors, thereby connecting the interior design with the natural world outside. The design for the balustrades exhibits Sullivan’s predilection for carefully controlled geometry and stylized nature typical of his expression of the Prairie School style. The symmetrical leaves and flowers seem to be growing on vertical trellises. The repetition of the closely placed balustrades created a dynamic rhythm up and down the staircase.
MEDIUM Cast iron, paint
DATES ca.1903
DIMENSIONS 40 x 9 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (101.6 x 24.8 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS no marks
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view on the 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
CREDIT LINE Gift of Carson, Pirie and Scott Co.
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CAPTION Louis Henry Sullivan (American, 1856-1924). Baluster Panel, One of Set, ca.1903. Cast iron, paint, 40 x 9 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (101.6 x 24.8 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Carson, Pirie and Scott Co., 71.42.3. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 71.42.3_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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Baluster Panel, One of Set