Architectural Fragment from the Schlesinger & Mayer Store, Chicago
Louis Sullivan

Cast and glazed terracotta
24½ × 4 × 5¾”

Sullivan was just as much a revolutionary in his ornament as he was in his use of plain surfaces and cubic forms. His ornament was not based on historical precedent but rather upon geometry and the stylized forms of nature. Although his early ornament has some links to that of the Gothic Revival style and to the Queen Anne style, his mature ornament, seen best in his works at the turn of the century, is indisputably his own. It stands as a curious yet unrelated parallel to Art Nouveau ornamentation in Europe. Crisp yet fluid, tightly constructed yet exuberant, these designs remind one of Sullivan’s feeling that architecture should not only serve and express society but also illuminate the heart. —Britannica

(Photo: Wright)