link: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School
navigation spacer Introduction navigation spacer The Collection navigation spacer Purcell-Cutts House Tour navigation spacer Architectural Tour navigation spacer Comments navigation spacer
The Collection
 All Objects
 Louis H. Sullivan
 Frank Lloyd Wright
 William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie
 George Washington Maher
 objects by other designers


back to thumbnails
previous  next
Sample cast for elevator bank decoration Sample cast for elevator bank decoration

George Grant Elmslie

c. 1916

32 x 17 3/4 x 3/8 in. (81.28 x 45.09 x 0.95 cm)

Gift of David and Patricia Gebhard

Accession #: 2002.211

Recent research in the William Gray Purcell Papers at the Northwest Architectural Archives has identified this object as a sample cast of metal ornament for the elevators of the Woodbury County Courthouse. A series of eleven such designs stretches across the top of the second-level elevator bank at the back, facing the rotunda——a rare use of metal amid the sea of terra-cotta decoration. Its organic motifs, which include seedpods and “lettuce leaf” decoration, show Elmslie’s adherence to Louis Sullivan’s ideals, yet the organic curves and spirals are balanced by the geometry of parallel horizontal lines in the center. The relative simplicity of this design in contrast to the minutely detailed teller’s wicket cast for the National Farmers’ Bank of Owatonna (also exhibited in this gallery) was dictated by its position in the courthouse rotunda, where it was meant to be viewed from a distance.
object 4 of 116

previous  next

Unified Vision Intro| The Collection| Purcell-Cutts House Tour| Architectural Tour| Comments