link: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School
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Purcell-Cutts House
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Entryway (exterior)
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Entryway (Exterior)
The Little Joker
Purcell's custom-designed house, nicknamed the Little Joker by Elmslie, includes several details at the entry that had special meaning for the architect and his family. Most of these appear as abstracted organic motifs that Elmslie designed in the manner of his teacher Louis Sullivan. One of the most intriguing is the beam-end decoration above the side gate, with its motto "Gray Days and Gold." A kind of in-joke between the architects, the phrase refers to Purcell's beloved grandparents, Dr. William Cunningham Gray and Catherine Gray; to the colors of their progressive architecture; and to the funds provided to Purcell by his wealthy father. Elmslie also created the monogram atop the screen to the right of the front door-an intertwined ESP (for Edna S. Purcell), also readable as P&E (for Purcell & Elmslie) or as a treble clef, a reference to Edna's love for music. Perhaps most whimsical are the "Peek a Boo" art-glass sidelights on either side of the front door, proving that the Little Joker had a sense of humor. next stop >

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