A Philosopher Chimpanzee’s New Home

Lake|Flato Architects of San Antonio, Texas designed the Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls in 2011. Like other buildings on Cranbrook’s campus, Lake|Flato designed niches along the main hallway for the display of art. I’ve had the pleasure of helping incorporate art pieces into the building; we always try to add works that enhance the material palette of the building–green glazed brick, Kasota limestone, brown cast-stone block, copper, and light maple.

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Philosopher Chimpanzee displayed on a custom mount in a niche at the Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls.

This summer, the Center for Collections and Research along with Capital Projects installed a work from the Cultural Properties Collection in one of the niches: Philosopher Chimpanzee, by former Kingswood School Cranbrook Sculpture Instructor Marshall M. Fredericks.

Philosopher Chimpanzee is a bronze high-relief of a monkey in a thoughtful pose with a smaller monkey in the background. There is a green patina on the bronze.

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Signature “Marshall Fredericks” on the bottom of the relief

The Philosopher Chimpanzee was done as a part of a series of twelve reliefs by Fredericks. He designed the series for a competition in 1939, hoping they would be installed on a government building in Washington DC, but the building was never built.

The donor of the work, June Lockhart, was a 1938 graduate of Kingswood School Cranbrook. While at Kingswood, her sculpture teacher was Fredericks. Lockhart’s father, Robert H. Daisley, was the Vice President of Eaton Manufacturing Company. He commissioned Fredericks to create a memorial in honor of the employees of the Eaton Manufacturing plant in Saginaw who died in World War II. Daisley bought the Philosopher Chimpanzee at that time, which Lockhart inherited upon her father’s death. She generously gave it to Cranbrook last year, and we are excited for the girls to see it when they return for classes this fall!

The chimp joins the other Marshall Fredericks works on campus, including The Thinker at the Academy (another philosophizing primate), The Pony Express reliefs at the Boys Middle School, and the Two Sisters at Kingswood.

– Leslie S. Mio, Associate Registrar *

* Fun Fact: One of Leslie’s hobbies is giving tours of Greenwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Michigan, where Marshall M. Fredericks, as well as the Booth family, are buried.

A Fond Farewell

Farewell Gretchen

Gretchen in front of the North Gates before they head off to conservation.

As the end of the year approaches, it is with a heavy heart that the Center for Collections and Research is saying a fond farewell to our Associate Registrar Gretchen Sawatzki. After 2 years of working hard at Cranbrook cataloging and restoring cultural properties all over the campus, organizing the restoration of the North Gates, contributing to the blog, maintaining objects, coordinating loans, and much much more, Gretchen will be leaving Michigan. She has taken a position in California and will be driving out west in the new year! We couldn’t be happier for her and her new opportunity but she will be greatly missed here at the Center for Collections and Research, as well as at all over the Cranbrook Campus.

Please feel free to leave comments and well wishes to Gretchen as she begins this new chapter!

Stefanie Kae Dlugosz, Collections Fellow, Center for Collections and Research

Photo Friday: The Fate of the North Gates

Arriving at  Cranbrook House you have probably noticed the large wrought iron entrance gates that welcome guests to the property along Lone Pine Road. A collaborative design by Cranbrook Founder, George Gough Booth (1864 – 1949) and Polish-American blacksmith, Samuel Yellin (1885 – 1940), this pair of gates were completed in 1917and are among the most cherished historic decorative elements at Cranbrook. But did you know that they are not the only gates that were a Booth-Yellin collaboration situated on the property?

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The North (Woods) Entrance Gates in Yellin’s studio, 1917. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives

Affectionately referred to as the North Gates, the gates seen in this photograph were also a collaborative design by Booth and Yellin. Forged by Yellin in his Philadelphia studio in 1917, the North Gates were installed as a part of a stone entrance wall at the old Cranbrook House entrance drive just north of Kingswood School on Cranbrook Road. When the drive was closed to re-route traffic to the house, the gates were ultimately removed and put into storage where they have remained – until now! Next week the North Gates will be leaving Cranbrook for a short journey to Cleveland for a full restoration. The six month project will include the fabrication of hand-wrought ironwork to replicate missing elements, chiseling to recreate bird faces and leaf veins, sandblasting, and the replication of a historic surface finish. Upon their return next spring the gates will be reinstalled at the new exit drive at Cranbrook House on Lone Pine Road just west of the South Entrance gates. So keep your eyes peeled for the triumphant return of the freshly restored gates!

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The original site of the North Gates as it appears today on Cranbrook Road. Photographer, Gretchen Sawatzki

 

Gretchen Sawatzki, Associate Registrar

 

To check out some more gate related information click here and here!

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