Growing up as a child from the south side of Chicago I would spend many years at the Art Institute of Chicago. In grammar school on weekends, my father sent me to art classes there. He owned the art supply company Favor Ruhl & Watson. At that time it was the largest art supply company in Chicago.
This Beau Arts building was erected as the World’s Congress Auxiliary Building for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. This was the only structure built for the exhibition outside of Jackson Park. The structure was intentionally designed to become the main building of the Art Institute after the closing of the exhibition.
My focus on the watercolor is Classical entrance of the building. The central block of the building was designed to have a dome over the center. However, since there were not enough funds available the dome was never completed.
Front Façade blueprint of the Loeb Mansion in Kenwood, Chicago. In 1924 the Crime of the Century was committed by two brilliant students of the University of Chicago, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold. Not only were they brilliant, they were from amongst the wealthiest families in the Chicago. They lived in the ultra exclusive neighborhood over Kenwood, just north of Hyde Park in Chicago. This was and still is the mansion district of Hyde Park Township.
I drew there two architectural renderings when I was 20 years old and an Architecture Student in Mr. Jorgenson’s Perspective Drawing Class. The text book was “Geometry for Architects”. For the final project the class had two choices that they could. 1, A single watercolor rendering in the size of 18″ x 24″. 2, two black & white perspective renderings in the same size. I chose the later. As you can see from the image the rendering is done on vellum thus there is no “give” to the paper and therefore “What you see is what you get.”
The address of the home was 5017 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60615. The style of architecture of the home is Tudor. The mansion sits on at least 6 city blocks, but I am not sure of this. The property size is similar to that of the Julius Rosenwald mansion just one block to the north on the same side of the street but at the corner of Ellis and 48th streets. The house was designed so that the front faced north and the vast garden side faced the south.
The entire eastern wing was the Living Room and right above was the Master Suite that took up the same enormous area. As you entered the front door you came into a long narrow marble hall and at the end of the hall there were a few steps up that had a door that open into the entry. The entry was adequate in size but lot large by any means and just to the left was the staircase the had a landing leading up to the second floor. There was an organ built into the base of the staircase. As you turned to your left you entered a vast space which was the Solarium that looked out onto the gardens to the south.
Today these two famous renderings hang in the collection of the Chicago History Museum. Collection ID: 2005.0118.1-.3.
The line work for this drawing is very light because of the use of fine line mechanical pencils. At this time lead holders or mechanical pencils were the work horse of the drafting industry. There was no AutoCAD or printers.
Loeb mansion from the Leopold-Loeb murder in Chicago #5000
Loeb mansion from the Leopold-Loeb murder in Chicago. These architectural renderings are now hanging in the permanent collection of the Chicago History Museum. The Loeb mansion was the residence of Richard Albert Loeb, located at 5017 S. Ellis Avenue in Chicago, Illinois 60615.
Points of the skyline drawing are as follows:
Tudor Architecture: The style of architecture for the mansion was Tudor. The façade of the home faced north and had a spacious circle drive around the front entry with a large elm tree planted in the center of the circle. The entry had a detailed canopy and lead into a long narrow marble hall which opened to a modest sized entry at the end. Once inside the entry you would turn right to the living room or turn left to the hall with lead to a closet to the immediate left and staircase with landing just past it. The banisters were of wood and a small organ built into the wall at the base of the stairs. When you walked past the staircase you came into a vast space which lead into the solarium which opened up to the gardens and south lawns. There was a tennis court and adjacent the garage on the east side of the property. There was a ballroom on the third floor.
Delineation: The rending was down in two parts. The first parting showing the north façade and entry. The second part was of the garden façade and solarium on the south side of the property.
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Chicago Navy Pier Pen & Ink Drawing #941. Key elements to this drawing are as follows:
Pen & Ink.
Chicago skyline: The backdrop of this scene is the cluster of skyscrapers that are at the core of Streeterville, on Chicago’s near north side. At the center of the cluster is none other than the famous John Hancock Center. The skyline makes for a wonderful support to the balance of the Drawing which centers on the Centennial Wheel and then move to the right and stops on the sail boats that are casually sailing on Lake Michigan.
Pen & Ink: I have chosen to draw this scene in pen & ink. Pen & ink work very well with this kind of scene. The sail boats on the right balance out the composition and all the images are gently resting in the hands of the John Hancock Center. The line strokes are ever to carefully places so as not to give that “hatching” effect, but rather I wanted all of the line work in the drawing to be structural. Note the delineation on the John Hancock Center and it’s neighbor, Water Tower Place. All of the ink lines in these buildings have nothing to do with shade or shadow but rather with contour and structure. Because of this, the lines that form the other elements of the drawing all fall into place.
Horizon: The vantage point for this drawing is square on the horizon line. It looks as though we are a bit below the horizon line but we are not. We are close to the water’s edge and above the decks of the sail boats. The horizon line has to be low for this kind of drawing to fit in all of the tall elements, even the tips of the boat sails go up beyond the half way point!