ArchiTech | Current Exhibit | Exhibition Archive | Artists | Address & e-mail | Frank Lloyd Wright | Press | Links

architectural art exhibition archive
beautiful mathematics, 20th century architectural elevations

Edgar Miller
May 6 - August 27, 2011

Early designs for illustrations and advertisements by Chicago's most eccentric architectural genius.

 


Fame has come late for Edgar Miller (1899 - 1993).  Now is his time.

Every true artist lives in his own internal universe and Miller was no exception.  Starting in the late 1920s, he transformed a number of Victorian townhouses in Chicago into modernist dwellings that had no artistic precedent.  Their interior and exterior architecture, from their ironwork and wood carving,  to their painted surfaces and stained glass windows, spoke in his own creative language as unique as their owners' personalities.  But before he began creating his amazing houses, he apprenticed in the famous Iannelli Studios.

From Alfonso Iannelli, he learned illustration, advertising, package design, sculpture and art glass construction.

ArchiTech Gallery, in its Iannelli archives, has numerous examples of Miller's earliest works.  Throughout the summer, ArchiTech will exhibit and sell Miller's designs for Marshall Field advertisements, cosmetic packaging logos, stained glass window cartoons and Vaudeville poster ideas.

Opening May 6th and continuing through August 27th, this commercial exhibition and sale will show how Edgar Miller's professional life began.

--------------

edgar miller gallery shot

Notes on the Exhibition:

Edgar Miller
May 6 - August 27, 2011

Discovering gold in your own backyard is the only parallel to this, I think. 

When I acquired the bulk of the Iannelli archive of job files and sketches, it didn't come with a roadmap.  But when my friend, Tim, who happens to be Chicago's official Cultural Historian, found the day books and ledgers for the studio, it unlocked all the archive's secrets.

Many of the drawings in the trove didn't look like Iannelli's hand.  Or his wife, Margaret's.   But the day books literally spelled out who actually did what.  The ledgers noted what they got paid.

Tim and I meticulously went through the drawers of material and compared those mysterious drawings to the listed jobs.   Because Edgar Miller had become the go-to guy for Iannelli, especially after Margaret suffered her mental breakdown and could no longer produce, he took over certain projects.  Cosmetic and toiletries firms of the 1920s like Bauer & Black and Dr. Hanna Products became his Iannelli Studios clients.  And his ideas for Vaudeville advertisements were given plenty of encouragement.  The "lightening bolt" markings on those borders and the cartoonish animals of his Christmas card designs look remarkably like his own motifs in paint and stained glass created decades later.

The illustrations for Marshall Field's  men's store and those for the shoe emporium, Martin and Martin, were all, apparently, drawn by Miller.  

What also became clearer was that all the work of the Iannelli Studios, far too much to have been produced by one hand, was ultimately guided by only one, Iannelli's.   As proof that he was a helluva teacher, many of his employees, Abel Faidy and Edgar Miller in the 20s, Bruce Goff in 1934, and others who learned their craft there, went on to amazing careers of their own.

Miller's later unique house remodelings in Chicago's Old Town had been curiosities for years.  Everyone seemed to like them but couldn't quite put their finger on why.  Perhaps, now we know.

click on image
to enlarge

Edgar Miller
"B & B" (fire logo)
Tempera on tracing paper
Circa 1920s
12 x 12 inches

Edgar Miller
"B & B Toothpaste"
Tempera and gold ink over pencil on paper
Circa 1920s
7 x 9 inches

Edgar Miller
"Dr. Hanna Products"
Pencil on paper
Circa 1920s
9 x 5 3/8 inches

Edgar Miller
"Malone Home Park Ridge, Ill."
Color proof of Christmas card
1922
(unfolded) 6 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches

Edgar Miller
"Vaudeville"
Tempera, pencil and metallic ink on paper
Circa 1920s
12 x 8 inches

Edgar Miller
"Nude Border"
Tempera and India ink over pencil on heavy paper
(Verso) Pencil
17 x 12 inches
Circa 1920s

Edgar Miller
"Store For Men" (Marshall Fields)
Tempera and pencil on tracing paper
Circa 1920s
10 x 7 inches

Iannelli interior
"Martin And Martin"
India ink on paper
Circa 1920s
10 x 7 inches

Iannelli interior
"Store for Men Border"
Tempera and India ink over pencil on heavy paper
17 x 12 inches
Circa 1920s

Iannelli interior
"Store for Men Advertisement proof"
Offset printing on paper
14 x 10 inches
Circa 1920s

 

 

 



David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654
312-475-1290
ArchiTechGallery@earthlink.net


Site designed by nanoSmith
© 2004-2010 ArchiTech Gallery