Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bronx County Courthouse, Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York, New York

Lorelei Fountain (south side Joyce Kilmer Park)
Fountain honors the author of "Die Lorelei," Heinrich Heine (German Jew).  Lorelei was a Rhine maiden who lured sailors to their deaths with her irresistible singing.  It was a gift to city of Dusseldorf, the poet's birthplace, from Empress Elizabeth of Austria, but rejected.  NY Germans presented it to the City in 1893 for Grand Army Plaza, again rejected.  Found its present home in 1899. 

Lorelei Fountain (1899)
Ernst Herter, sculptor

former Concourse Plaza Hotel

The Bronx County Building is an enormous limestone structure in the Art Moderne style. It was built in 1933 by the architects Joseph Freedlander and Max Hausle in collaboration with the artists Adolph A. Weinman (1870-1952) who designed the rectangular block sculptures at the entrances to the building, and Charles Keck (1875-1951) who designed the friezes. The Art Deco design of the building reflects the architecture of many of the buildings along the Grand Concourse. The project was sponsored by the Works Progress Administration.

The tall rectangular block sculptures by Adolph A. Weinman are largely allegorical, paying homage to the history of government by law through the ages, beginning with Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They were created with the assistance of collaborators George H. Snowden, Joseph Kiselewski, and Edward F. Sanford, among others. The friezes which run along each façade on either side of simple ionic styled columns are by Charles Keck. As with the Weinman sculptures in the round, Keck's friezes also refer to classical, biblical and symbolic themes including the west façade frieze depicting the Civil War surrender of General Lee to General Grant, revolutionary pipers in uniform; images of a young, growing and working America; as well as an allusion to slavery.

Joseph Freedlander and Max Hausle, architects


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