Thursday, February 25, 2010

Music and Arts in Chicago, 1911

The following is excerpted from a major encyclopedia published in 1911

Among the monuments erected in public places are a Columbus by D.C. French and a bronze replica of French’s equestrian statue of Washington in Paris; statues of John A. Logan and Abraham Lincoln by St Gaudens; monuments commemorating the Haymarket riot and the Fort Dearborn massacres; statues of General Grant, Stephen A. Douglas, La Salle, Schiller, Humboldt, Beethoven and Linnaeus. There is also a memorial to G.B. Armstrong (1822-1871), a citizen of Chicago, who founded the railway mail service of the United States. A city art commission approves all works of art before they become the property of the city, and at the request of the mayor acts in various ways for the city’s aesthetic betterment. The Architectural Club labours for the same end. A Municipal Art League (organized in 1899) has done good work in arousing civic pride; it has undertaken, among other things, campaigns against bill-board advertisements,11 and against the smoke nuisance.

The Art Institute of Chicago contains valuable collections of paintings, reproductions of bronzes and sculpture, architectural casts, and other objects of art. Connected with it is the largest and most comprehensive art school of the county—including newspaper illustration and a normal school for the training of teachers of drawing in the public schools. The institute was incorporated in 1879, though its beginnings go back to 1866, while the school dates from 1878. The courses in architecture are given with the co-operation of the Armour Institute of Technology. There are also a number of notable private art collections in the city. In 1894 the Chicago Public School Art Society was founded to secure the placing of good works of art in the public schools. Picture collections are also exchanged among the neighbourhood-park homes.

Music in Chicago owes much to the German element of the population. Especially noteworthy among musical organizations 121 are the Apollo Musical Club (1872) and The Theodore Thomas orchestra, which has disputed with the Boston Orchestra the claim to artistic primacy in the United States. Its leader from its organization in 1891 until his death in 1905 was Theodore Thomas, who had long been identified with summer orchestral concerts in the city. In 1904 a fund was gathered by public subscription to erect a handsome building and endow the orchestra.

The Field Museum of Natural History, established (1894) largely by Marshall Field, is mainly devoted to anthropology and natural history. The nucleus of its great collection was formed by various exhibits of the Columbian Exposition which were presented to it. Its collections of American ethnology, of exceptional richness and value, are constantly augmented by research expeditions. In addition to an original endowment of $1,000,000, Mr Field bequeathed to the museum $8,000,000, Lo be utilized in part for the new building which is being erected in Jackson Park.

No comments:

Post a Comment