MICHAEL FITZSIMMONS DECORATIVE ARTS
Over 30 years specializing in the Arts & Crafts field
Architectural artifacts
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Louis Sullivan
Cast plaster panel from the Garrick Theater, located in the Schiller Building, c.1891 (now demolished)
39"h x 31"w
cast and painted plaster
SOLD

In my 30 years in this field, this is the first time I have had this particular panel design.  Originally located in the dining room of the Garrick Theater, it is a wonderful and striking example of architectural ornamentation.  There is an interesting theory about this motif; that it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who was the chief designer in Sullivan's office at this time.  Certainly the flatness and overriding geometry of the central motif, which includes flat, stylized flowers and interlocking arcs and circles, has more to do with Wright's future work than it does with what would come out of Sullivan's office in the ensuing years.  I was told, but have not found yet, that there is a photograph of Wright in his office with a cast of this panel in the background.  I leave it up to you to decide for yourself, but I feel the possibility that this is more Wright than Sullivan is quite plausible.   

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Ornamental Cartouche, c.1910
Midland Terra Cotta Company, based on a design by Louis Sullivan and George Grant Elmslie, unknown Chicago commission, glazed terracotta  54"w x 39"h 
$5500 

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Frank Lloyd Wright
Leaded glass door panel, c.1903
clear and colored glass with zinc caming
designed for the JJ Walser house, Chicago
66"h x 26"w
$24,500 

This house was designed and built in 1903 by Frank Lloyd Wright for printing executive, Jacob Walser, Jr. in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.  A virtual twin of the Barton house, part of the Darwin Martin complex in Buffalo of the same year, the Walser house is a little jewel box, and beautifully illustrates what Wright could accomplish with a relatively small footprint.  The glass design, again a twin of the windows in the Barton house, show his mastery of interlocking planes, chevrons and diagonals.  The colored glass, subtle tones of green, cream and amber, is enlivened with small panes of gilded glass, which would have provided twinkling reflections in the interior at night.
The neighborhood surrounding the house has declined in recent years, and the previous owners removed the windows in a desperate attempt to save them from vandalism.  This is one of two door panels that were originally in the house, and the only one that I am aware of that survived.  It is in excellent condition.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.  

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Cast plaster panel from the Garrick Theater, located in the Schiller Building, c.1891 (now demolished)
29"h x 26 1/2"w
cast and painted plaster
SOLD

I have had several of these over the years, and they are a striking and beautiful example of Sullivan's creative genius.  A sophisticated mix of stylized and naturalistic plant and organic forms, this piece encapsulates his theories of design.  Whether the geometric is evolving out of the organic or the other way around, there is a wonderful interplay between the two.  These panels were originally painted gold, but over the years, before the building was torn down in the early 1970's, they were repainted a couple of times, to end up finally white, as here.  I have a nice photograph in a book that shows the proscenium arch, where the panels were located, just before the building was razed.  This is a link to the Minneapolis Museum of Art's website, where there is a nice description of the panel and its significance.  The panel is currently in a black pine shadow box frame, which is how most of these turn up, and would probably have to be reframed.  We can help with that if you would like, or it can ship as is for protection.

 

Stencil canvas fragment from the 
Chicago Stock Exchange Building, c.1893

oil on canvas
15"h x 41 1/2"w
$22,000 
SOLD

Elevator Door Grille from the 
Chicago Stock Exchange Building, c.1893

used on floors 3-13, cast and forged iron   
40 1/4"w x 74"h
SOLD

 

 

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Stair baluster, c.1899
designed for the Schlesinger & Mayer Department Store, (now Carson's) Chicago IL
cast iron with traces of copper plating   39"h x 10"w
SOLD

This is a gorgeous element.  A rich, detailed foliate motif in the center is placed against a structural framework embellished with gothic tracery.  This could be a summation of Sullivan's approach to architecture as well as a description of this piece.  All these balusters were removed from the store during a remodeling in the 1970's, and are extremely rare today.

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