The Brotherhood Monument

The Brotherhood Monument, 1954
Egon Weiner
Northwest corner of Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road

            Vienna-born artist Egon Weiner (1906-1987) came to Chicago in 1938 after the German occupation of Austria, after which Nazis picked up his mother and he never saw her again. He taught at the Art Institute from 1945 to 1971 and encouraged artists to take the risk and reveal emotions, “the expression of that fire that burns in all of us.”
            Weiner created two identical bronze groups for either side of the entrance to a building that, at the time, housed the headquarters of the Union of Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen. When the Union moved its base to Washington, D.C. in 1979, the building was sold to St. Joseph hospital. The kneeling figures, including two males and two females in each group, grasp each others extended arms and form a circle. The facial characteristics are different on each figure, intended to represent the peoples of Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Along with the inscriptions on the base, such as “Liberty,” “Tolerance,” “Equality,” and “Peace in Unity,” the sense of togetherness and cooperation made the works an appropriate motif for a Union headquarters, in the sense that members must forgo individual egos in favor of the collective good. 

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