Friday, September 13, 2013

Ryerson Monument

Ryerson Monument, 1887
Louis H. Sullivan
Graceland Cemetery
Along Main Avenue across from Pullman Monument
4001 North Clark Street

            Commissioned by Martin A. Ryerson (1856-1932) for his father, Martin Ryerson (1810-1887), this is one of two monuments in Graceland Cemetery designed by prominent architect Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924). The elder Ryerson established a lumber business in Michigan and opened a Chicago office in 1850. During the 1880s, the architectural firm of Adler & Sullivan, designers of the Auditorium Building in downtown Chicago, built four office buildings for Ryerson.
            Martin A. Ryerson joined his father’s business after graduating from Harvard Law School. Ryerson is most noted for his philanthropic and cultural activities. He was one of the founders of the Art Institute of Chicago (along with Charles L. Hutchinson, also buried in Graceland), and was an incorporator of the Field Museum of Natural History. He helped found the University of Chicago and was a member of the first board of trustees. Both Ryersons are buried at this site.
            For this tomb, Sullivan looked to the Egyptian pyramid and mastaba, a slope-sided bench-type monument, and combined the two in this polished black granite structure. As with the Getty Mausoleum, a careful look at the bronze gate reveals the type of intricate organic details that speak to Sullivan’s genius for architectural ornamentation.

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