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!

Yesterday…

…while walking up Van Buren Street to the Harold Washington Library, I noticed this odd reflection in the back window of an SUV:

I love the distortion of the building on the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Michigan Avenue...it wasn't really falling over!

I love the distortion of the building on the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Michigan Avenue…it wasn’t really falling over!

Just a few steps later, I saw this plaque:

I've walked by this building so many times, yet never took a shot.

I’ve walked by this building so many times, yet never took a shot.

Here’s a look up at The Buckingham facade, with the CNA Insurance building reflected in its windows:

I always like 'wavy glass'!

I always like ‘wavy glass’!

The CNA Center, at the northeast corner of Van Buren and Wabash Streets, is 600 feet tall with 44 stories…I got a little dizzy looking up to take some shots!

Some years back, a woman was killed when one of the panes of glass quite high up dislodged from its frame and fell directly on her...all windows were repaired while the building was surrounded with scaffolding for a lengthy amount of time.

Some years back, a woman was killed when one of the panes of glass quite high up dislodged from its frame and fell directly on her…all windows were repaired while the building was surrounded with scaffolding for a lengthy amount of time.

After I finished at the library, I walked up to Madison and Dearborn Streets to pay my phone bill.

Just across Van Buren stands the Chase Bank Tower, but I haven’t processed those shots yet because…

...to the south of Chase is the Exelon Plaza, with this fabulous fountain surrounded by all the downtown-types having luncheon.

…to the south of Chase Bank Tower is the Exelon Plaza, with this fabulous fountain surrounded by all the downtown-types having luncheon.

Here’s a closer-up shot in color:

It was a glorious day to dine al fresco, but I didn't, as I had quite another reason for being there!

It was a glorious day to dine al fresco, but I didn’t, as I had quite another reason for being there!

(to be continued)