John Storrs (American, 18851956)
Stainless steel and copper; 20 1/2 x 4 x 5/8 in. (52.1 x 10.2 x 4.1 cm)
Francis Lathrop Fund, 1967 (67.238)
Storrs was the son of a Chicago architect and real estate developer, and the modern architecture of his native city would influence his sculpture throughout his career. He studied at various institutions in both the United States and Paris, where he was a student of Auguste Rodin for a brief time. He developed an approach to sculpture that acknowledged historical influences ranging from Native American ceramics to ancient Egyptian and Greek stone carving, while also incorporating recent styles such as Art Deco design. Storrs produced his "skyscraper sculptures" in materials associated more with industry and the decorative arts than with the fine arts. They are formal experiments with volume and space, the balance of vertical and horizontal masses, and the play of light on polished surfaces. Examples such as Forms in Space, in particular, signal his interest in the latest architectural styles seen in Chicago and New York, where the ever-taller office towers and apartment buildings were "set back" at their upper stories, in accordance with new urban zoning requirements.