Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Walter Ufer

Self portrait, 1923

In 1914, Mayor Carter Harrison addressed the Chicago City Council as follows:

"Though Chicago stands in the front rank of up-to-date, progressive cities of the nation, so far it has accomplished nothing as a municipality either in encouraging art or in aiding the development of local talent. The Art Institute and its school have done a great work in the education of young artists, as well as in nurturing a love for and knowledge of art in the community. I believe the city government should do its share towards making Chicago an art center. With this object in view, I respectfully recommend that the sum of $5000 be annually appropriated for the purchase of paintings and works of plastic art, the production of artists and sculptors who have been residents of the city of Chicago for at least two years prior to the purchase of their work, these to be placed in the City Hall, the public schools and other public buildings of the city. The selection of these works of art should be left to a commission to consist of seven representatives, three to be selected by the Art Institute, one each by the Municipal Art League, the Friends of American Art, the Palette and Chisel Club, and the mayor of Chicago."

In that same year, Walter Ufer (1876-1936) had a one-man show at the Palette and Chisel -- that impressed Mayor Harrison -- and Ufer was sent to Taos, New Mexico to make paintings about the American West.

In 1916, the above painting, "Solemn pledge: Taos indians" won an Art Institute cash prize and was purchased for the museum by the Friends of American Art. It is still on display in the American wing today.


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