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Monday, September 21, 2009

Emmanuel Viviano Chicago Pilgrimage (Part II)

Dear Readers,

Last Sunday, I attempted an “Emmanuel Viviano/ WPA Field Trip” all about Chicago—I wanted to scout out the Viviano public art in our city and report back to you. Sadly, I couldn’t locate any of his works… from the Carroll Playground in Oak Park (which once featured a statue and fountain of Alice), to the Nancy Hill School in Aurora (once the site of Viviano’s sculptures of a deer and hippopotamus), to the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Illinois (where, in the garden, once stood Viviano’s sensitive sculpture Girl with a Fish, which Muriel Scheinman had promised to be “reminiscent of a sixth-century BC Greek kore figure… facing front like a ritual votive object”)… to the since razed housing project Jane Addams House (not to be confused with Hull-House), which in the past showcased the playful and prolific Animal Court works, which Viviano artfully constructed with mentor Edgar Miller.

I found out that in 2007, the Animal Court sculptures had been placed in storage and awaited restoration. Yet, I know nothing of what has become of the sculptures since then.

And no one had any news about Viviano’s work Protection, which once graced City Hall.

And yet, my Sunday adventure was not a complete wash—I did enjoy a perfect lemon Italian ice from Gina’s Ice Cream Shop—and I did speak with a number of kindly midwesterners—an older gentleman in Carroll Park, a medical student who led me to a private courtyard at the University of Illinois to continue my search.

Although I did not locate Girl with a Fish, I did sense the echoes of WPA (Works Progress Administration from FDR's New Deal) works throughout the medical campus, and found two WPA sculptures in an overgrown, hidden garden—including this ode to Copernicus:

And to Hygeia:

I spoke with Teresa Silva, a very helpful curatorial assistant at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, who gave me some promising leads—I will keep you updated on the uncovering of this Viviano Chicago mystery…

Jessica Savitz

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-8510

MIR Gallery, an online division of MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., is proud to showcase two original, sculptural works by Emmanuel Viviano, a Chicago-born sculptor, painter and printmaker. To view original Emmanuel Viviano sculptures in the MIR Gallery, please do email: or call (312) 814-8510.

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    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.