In the previous post…

…I showed images of Exelon Plaza just south of what is now named the Chase Bank Tower, at the corner of Madison and Dearborn Streets.

At 60 stories and 850 feet in height, it’s the tallest building inside the tracks of the Chicago Loop–and its architecture is astounding at first glance.

Impressive, isn't it?

Impressive, isn’t it?

 

Even its reflection in the glass of 1 South Dearborn is impressive!

Even its reflection in the glass of 1 South Dearborn is impressive!

But I was there to see something much more of interest to me as an artist, The Four Seasons mosaic, designed by Marc Chagall and presented as a gift to the City of Chicago by Frederick H. Prince via the Prince Charitable Trusts in 1974.

First, the eastern facade:

Four Seasons-1

The north facade:

Four Seasons-2

The west facade:

Four Seasons-3

The south facade:

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The Four Seasons is, according to Wikipedia, 70 feet (21 m) long, 14 feet (4.3 m) high, 10 feet (3.0 m) wide rectangular box, and was dedicated on September 27, 1974.

It was renovated in 1994 and a protective glass canopy was installed.

The City of Chicago website presents a bit more information:

Composed of thousands of inlaid chips in over 250 colors, Marc Chagall’s mosaic artwork The Four Seasons portrays six scenes of Chicago. It features a vocabulary of images informed by the artist’s Russian-Jewish heritage and found in his Surrealist paintings such as birds, fish, flowers, suns and pairs of lovers. Chagall maintained, “the seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different ages.” The design for this mosaic was created in Chagall’s studio in France, transferred onto full-scale panels and installed in Chicago with the help of a skilled mosaicist.

Chagall continued to modify his design after its arrival in Chicago, bringing up-to-date the areas containing the city’s skyline (last seen by the artist 30 years before installation) and adding pieces of native Chicago brick.

In Chagall’s words:

“I chose the theme of the four seasons because I believe there will be many people going through this plaza in the heart of the city of Chicago. In my mind, the four seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different stages. I hope that the people of Chicago will feel the same emotion that I felt when doing this work.”

Here are closer-up images of Chagall’s enchanting oeuvre, which was executed in France by the mosaicist Michel Tharin–ENJOY!

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Four Seasons-16

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If you’re interested, there is a video of the creation of The Four Seasons by Chuck Olin called The Monumental Art of Marc Chagall here.

It’s well-worth watching the full 30 minutes to see and hear Chagall at work, correcting and making additions to Michel Tharin’s hand-cut tiles!

Marc Chagall-Still Frame-1

Marc Chagall-Still Frame-2

These two still frames really don’t do justice to the mastery of Chagall, so if you can, watch the video.

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It was very exciting to work on and present Chagall’s masterpiece as I saw it, mesmerized by the placement of each subtly(and not-so-subtly)-colored tile, viewing this huge work in smaller images on a computer some 39 years after its construction.

I just wish I knew what the top looked like, as in the video, it was said that there are also mosaic panels which are no longer viewable due to the plastic canopy!

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While walking home…

…from the grocer the other, I happened upon this signpost which I realized I’d never shown here before.

It’s just less than a block from where I live, and it brings back so many childhood memories, because this was the very first children’s program I viewed when my Dad bought our first television in 1950–“Kukla, Fran and Ollie”!

Please, take a moment to read…this TV program gave me and my brothers many hours of great entertainment!

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Tillstrom-2

To think, he gave puppet shows from his apartment window!

Now, I’ve passed this building many, many times, always admiring it for having that ‘certain something’…I just really like the look of it, so I began photographing it in relation to the information re: Mr. Burt Tillstrom.

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I figured that this had to have been the puppet show window, as I could envision the neighborhood kids gathering on the lawn below, enjoying themselves on a war Summer evening.

I figured that this had to have been the puppet show window, as I could envision the neighborhood kids gathering on the lawn below, enjoying themselves on a war Summer evening.

I was about to walk away when I noticed a plaque to the right of that window.

I walked right over the lawn to take a shot, thinking it was a typical ‘management’ sign–but NO!

To my surprise, it not only signified the name of the building, but also the architect!

Are you as surprised as I?

Are you as surprised as I?

As I recall from viewing a DVD on Mr. Wright’s life recently, he was really scrambling for money in 1918, so perhaps he took this commission ‘for the bucks’, diverging from his normal-for-that-time Prairie style architecture!

As I said, the building has that ‘certain something’, but I hadn’t realized it was THAT ‘certain something’!

I’ve neglected to give you…

…an update on the Farcroft apartment building long enough!

For about a month, there have been tenants moving in, and here’s a sample of what their spaces look like:

View of the 13 story Farcroft from The Jarvis Avenue "L" station platform

View of the 13 story Farcroft from the Jarvis Avenue “L” station platform

At the entryway is a leaded-glass window, flanked by two caryatids...

At the entryway is a leaded-glass window, flanked by two caryatids…

...one of which is 'the keyholder'...

…one of which is ‘the keyholder’…

...and the other seems to have lost what he originally held! Quite distinctive, aren't they?

…and the other seems to have lost what he originally held!
Quite distinctive, aren’t they?

The original door of this 1928 building was sent out to be restored, and the craftsman did an absolutely wonderful job of it!

The original door of this 1928 building was sent out to be restored, and the craftsman did an absolutely wonderful job of it!

Here's the lobby, about five steps down from street level.  This was taken before the building opened...that's the reason for the still-wrapped furniture.

Here’s the lobby, about five steps down from street level. This was taken before the building opened…that’s the reason for the still-wrapped furniture.

Everything was done right with this gut rehab...all the floors are oak, newly installed.

Everything was done right with this gut rehab…all the floors are oak, newly installed.

All the spaces were reconfigured.  Here is a north-facing wall of one of the highest floors' apartment...

All the spaces were reconfigured. Here is a north-facing wall of one of the highest floors’ apartment…

...and the view from that window!

…and the view from that window!  The thing hanging in the middle is the cordage from white-painted wooden blinds, which are installed at each newly-replaced window.

A typical kitchen, wonderfully appointed, with loads of workspace...

A typical kitchen, wonderfully appointed, with loads of workspace…

...and a typical bathroom--nothing fancy, but larger than those usually found here in Chicago's older buildings.

…and a typical bathroom–nothing fancy, but larger than those usually found here in Chicago’s older buildings.

The view looking south along the lake shore to downtown Chicago, taken from a twelfth floor window.  Oh, what I wouldn't give to wake up to this!

The view looking south along the lake shore to downtown Chicago, taken from a twelfth floor window. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to wake up to this!

If you noticed in the first image, there is a turret at the top of the Farcroft.  This is the entry to the apartment directly below--it's called the 'turret room'.

If you noticed in the first image, there is a turret at the top of the Farcroft. This is the entry to the apartment directly below–it’s called the ‘turret room’.  See that rectangular object in the wall?  That’s a radiator—very new technology and extremely practical, don’t you think?

Enchanting, isn't it...and check out the view to the north and west!

Enchanting, isn’t it…and check out the view to the north and west!

Finally, here is the 'turret room' apartment's kitchen...ready for any occupant who loves to cook! Note that in these kitchens, the stoves are NOT placed next to the refrigerators...that's called 'doing it right', because it ultimate saves electricity as the fridge does not have to run as long as it would being 'warmed' so often by the heat of the stove!

Finally, here is the ‘turret room’ apartment’s kitchen…ready for any occupant who loves to cook!  The fellow on the right is Bill Tentler, the Chief of Maintenance, who graciously allowed me to tour the building before it opened.
Note that in these kitchens, the stoves are NOT placed next to the refrigerators…that’s called ‘doing it right’, because it ultimate saves electricity as the fridge does not have to run as long as it would being ‘warmed’ so often by the heat of the stove!

At some point, I’ll present more details of this beautifully executed gut rehab/restoration of the Farcroft apartments, but for now, just dream of what it would be like to live in the tallest building in the Rogers park neighborhood of Chicago!

Structures

The Old:

This water tower is one of few remaining in Chicago, and, I think, the only one left in Rogers Park.  These were installed on almost every building after the Great Fire of October 8, 1871.

This water tower is one of few remaining in Chicago, and, I think, the only one left in Rogers Park. These were installed on almost every building after the Great Fire of October 8, 1871.

The New:

Scaffolding has been erected around the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Emil Bach House.

Scaffolding has been erected around the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Emil Bach House.

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Extensive renovations are being made, including roof repair, and the boarded-up windows will be replaced with reproductions of Mr. Wright's original stained glass designs for this house, which dates from 1915.

Extensive renovations are being made, including roof repair, and the boarded-up windows will be replaced with reproductions of Mr. Wright’s original stained glass designs for this house, which dates from 1915.

I have not yet heard the projected finish date, as so much repair will be done, but it is exciting to be able to catalogue the on-going work.

Under the white sky

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

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Reflection of a n apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

Reflection of an apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

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Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

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Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog. In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago's third tallest building at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog.
In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago’s third tallest building–at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

From my window: A year ago, yesterday…

…this was the view…ah, Spring!

20Mar2012-1

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20MAR2012-2

From roughly the same angles, these show my little world on this very, very cold second day of Spring:

21MAR2013-1

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21MAR2013-2

So disappointing, as not a bud or tiny, emerging leaf can be seen anywhere!

But…the major shock of the morning was at the legendary Emil Bach House tulip garden, where a few posts ago, I presented the first tulip sprouts coming along nicely…when I stopped by to check there growth, I found not a tulip in sight!

Apparently, they’ve all been dug out!

The northern half of the garden

The northern half of the garden

The southern half

The southern half

At first I thought it was my eyes, because I WAS really tired and didn’t want to be out walking in the cold!

But…NO!

Little ‘dug out’ spots show all the tulips been removed, meaning no spectacular display this year.

There is an awful lot of work to be done at the Emil Bach House, including installing a geothermal heating system–lots of digging around involved with that, and I give the owner much credit for the upgrade on this lovely piece of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture–they are doing it right!

But I sure will miss that large plot so full of tulips–one of my favorite Spring flowers!

 

From my windows: More Sunday morning peaceful

I’ve been quite tired and ‘out of sorts’ the last few days, hence no posts. My apologies, and to make up for that, here are some very comforting images, taken within the last half hour.

From my studio window

From my studio window

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The Farcroft, catching the first rays

The Farcroft and surrounds, catching the first rays

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Downtown Evanston, a little hazy, but serene nonetheless

Downtown Evanston, a little hazy, but serene nonetheless

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The rooftop of the Shambahla Center...it looks as if the local racoons may have been scampering around overnight!

The rooftop of the Shambhala Center…it looks as if the local racoons may have been scampering around overnight!

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Drifted snow atop a garage below turns pinkish as the sun rises...five minutes later, it was almost white again!

Drifted snow atop a garage below turns pinkish as the sun rises…five minutes later, it was almost white again!

N.B.:  These images have not been Photoshopped at all…they are, except for re-sizing, straight from the camera, as I didn’t want to ‘play’ with these soft, peaceful colors!