B.F. Ferguson Monument Fund

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B.F. Ferguson Monument Fund

Public Art is free for all to enjoy. But it doesn’t come for free. There’s usually a huge price-tag attached, and someone picks up the tab. I have previously talked about funding of Public Art in Chicago. And post is specifically on the sculptures funded by the B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund..

When Benjamin Franklin Ferguson died in 1905, through his will, he left $1 million of charitable trust fund to the Art Institute of Chicago, to be known as the B. F. Ferguson Fund. This fund was to be..
entirely and exclusively expended by it under the direction of its Board of Trustees in the erection and maintenance of enduring statuary and monuments, in the whole or in part of stone, granite or bronze, in the parks, along the boulevards or in other public places, within the city of Chicago, Illinois, commemorating worthy men or women of America or important events of American history. The plans or designs for such statuary or monuments and the location of the same shall be determined by the Board of Trustees of such Institute.”



About 20 public works have been funded by B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund.
The progress can be divided into phases..
PHASE I.. [1905-1931] 11 monuments/sculptures were funded
PHASE II.. [1932-1966] No sculptures was funded. In fact the fund was used to create the Art Institute’s Administrative Wing.
PHASE III.. [1967 onwards] About 9 monuments/sculptures have been funded.




Commissioned by B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund




The guidelines for funding by B.F.Ferguson Monument Fund, clearly states:
commemorating worthy men or women of America or important events of American history.

Here is examining the various commissions under the Ferguson Fund..

[1] Fountain of the Great Lakes[1913] – By Lorado Taft
Location: Art Institute of Chicago /South Garden
Memorial to B.F.Ferguson.
For more..click here...

[2] Statue of the Republic [1918] – By Daniel Chester French..
Location: Jackson Park
To Commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
For more.. click here...

[3] The Logan Square Monument [1918]- By Henry Bacon [Design] and Evelyn B. Longman [Relief].
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the admission of Illinois state. The eagle, is in reference to the state flag. Reliefs surrounding the base depict figures of Native Americans, explorers, farmers and laborers intended to show the great changes experienced during the state’s first century.
For more.. click here...

[4] Alexander Hamilton statue [1918] – By Bela Lyon Pratt [sculptor], and Charles A Coolidge [architect].
Location – Grant Park / Removed / Current location: unknown
Memorial to Alexander Hamilton.

[5] Fountain of Time [1922] – By Lorado Taft
Location: Western edge of the Midway Plaisance in the Washington Park
To commemorate the first 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain, resulting from the Treaty of Ghent in 1814.
For more.. click here...

[6] Eugene Field Memorial [1922] – By Edward Francis McCartan
Location: Lincoln Park Zoo
Erected in 1922, by school children and citizens, as a memorial for Eugene Fields, best known from his children’s poetry and humorous essays.
For more.. click here...

[7] Spirit of Music [1923] – By Albin Polasek..
Location: Grant Park
A memorial to Theodore Thomas [1835-1905], first conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO).
For more.. click here..

[8] Jacques Marquette Memorial [1926] – Hermon Atkins MacNeil
Location: Douglas Park
Statue of Jacques Marquette, Louis Jolliet, and an Illinois Indian.
To commemorate the discoveries and the sacrifices of the Jesuit missionary Father Jacques Marquette.
For more.. click here..

[9] Defense and Regeneration [1928] – By Henry Hering
Location: Michigan Avenue bridge – south pylons
To commemorate early events in the history of Chicago, much of which occurred on this spot… “Defense”, on the southwest pylon, depicts the Fort Dearborn Massacre of 1812. [The massacre actually occurred two miles south of the fort], and”Regeneration”, on the southeast pylon, shows workers rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871, which destroyed the central city.
For more.. click here..

[10] Bowman and the Spearman [1928] – By Ivan Mestrovic..
Location: Michigan Avenue Plaza
To commemorate Native Americans. Mestrovic cast the pieces in Yugoslavia.
For more.. click here..

[11] Fountain of the Tritons [1931] – By Carl Milles
Location: McKinlock Court, at the Art Institute of Chicago
To commemorate John Ericsson and other Swedish Americans. Ericsson created the “Monitor”, the first iron-clad turret ship, which did battle with the Merrimack in the Civil War. However, this installation is not in a public space, but in the McKinlock Court within the Art Institute of Chicago.
For more.. click here..

PHASE II: 1932 – 1966
[12] Ferguson Memorial Building
Between the period 1932-1966, no new sculpture was added by the Ferguson Fund. However, in 1951, the Art Institute claimed $1.6 million for it’s own use, to fund a new north wing to house it’s administrative offices. The building was competed in 1958 and is named the Benjamin F. Ferguson Memorial Building.. [A very controversial decision, which generated some legal battles].

Another way to define Phase II is from 1929 to 1966. In this time, no public sculpture was installed by the Ferguson Fund. After the 1928 installation of the Equestrian Indians [Bowman & Spearman] by Ivan Mestrovic at Grant Park. there was no new public sculptures installed by the Ferguson Fund for 38 years. In 1967, when “Nuclear Energy” by Sir Henry Moore was installed at the University of Chicago. Although in 1931, “Fountain of the Tritons” by Carl Milles was installed at the Art Institute, but it does not qualify as public space.

PHASE III: 1967 onwards
[13] Nuclear Energy [1967] – By Henry Moore
Location: University of Chicago, Hyde Park
To commemorate the first self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction. It was erected for and dedicated at the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the splitting of the atom on the grounds by Enrico Fermi in December 2, 1942. Thus, it was dedicated at precisely 3:36 p.m. on December 2, 1967.
For more.. click here..

[14] Slabs of the Sunburnt West [1975] – By Richard Hunt
Location: University of Illinois, Chicago
Memorial to Illinois poet and historian Carl Sandburg, inspired by Sandburg’s 1922 poem of the same name, Slabs of Sunburnt West.
For more.. click here..

[15] Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi [1976] – Location: Art Institute of Chicago
To commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic. And was commissioned to coincide with the Art Institute’s East Wing.
For more.. click here..

[16] have a Dream [1978] – By Abbott Pattison
Location: Chicago State University
Memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For more.. click here..

[17] Man Enters Cosmos [1980] – By Henry Moore
Location: Adler Planetarium Plaza
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Copernicus.
For more.. click here..

[18] Man on A Bench [1986] – By George Segal
Location: IIT campus – Green Park Bench
To commemorate the Centennial of Mies van der Rohe’s birth. This is the first piece of public sculpture displayed outdoors of the IIT campus.
For more.. click here..

[19] Helping Hands [1996] – By Louis Bourgeois
Location: Navy Pier Park / Jane Addams Memorial Park
Memorial to Jane Addams
For more.. click here..

[20] Sculpture for DuSable Park [commissioned in 1998, not installed yet] – By Martin Puryear
B.F. Ferguson Fund of Art Institute of Chicago commissioned Martin Puryear to create a sculpture for DuSable Park, as a Memorial for Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, but commission dependent on Park’s completion. Puryear’s sculpture is non-representational, “a cube with a feather on it”.


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