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November 4, 2015
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Gateway Arch designed by Eero Saarinen, a new exhibition at St. Louis Art Museum spotlights the region's notable contributions to midcentury modernism from 1935-65. Peep a few of the archival gems from the show, on view Nov. 8 through Jan. 31, 2016.
Eero Saarinen with models of the Gateway Arch.

Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen designed the Gateway Arch monument, completed in St. Louis in 1965 (it opened to the public in 1967). The world's largest arch, the iconic, 632-foot tall structure was built as a monument to westward expansion in the United States. Here, he's shown alongside models of the arch.

Credit: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives; © St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
1 / 8
Eero Saarinen Tulip armchair for Knoll, 1956, 1957.

Saarinen designed his famous Tulip armchair as part of the Pedestal collection for Knoll in 1956 (manufacturing began the following year). With its minimal base and narrow, simple stem, the clean-lined design aimed to provide a solution to clunkier designs of, in the designer's own words, "ugly, confusing, unrestful world."

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
2 / 8

This scale model is of a 48-foot long sculpture that was designed by Harry Bertoia for the Lambert-St. Louis Air Terminal when it opened in 1956. Used as a space divider, it features vividly colored panels suspended within the screen's framework appeared to flutter as people walked by, creating a delightful sense of rhythm and movement. On one side the panels were painted in oranges, reds, and yellows; the other side had cooler reds, blues, and fuschias. The screen was removed from the terminal sometime between 1965 and 1967 when the airport expanded. This maquette is the only surviving document of both the sculpture and the original paint scheme.

Credit: Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Mrs. Charles W. Lorenz, the E. Reuben and Gladys Flora Grant Charitable Trust, and the Gary Wolff Family 39:2001; © 2015 Estate of Harry Bertoia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Architect Robert Elkington's residence with Saarinen chairs in St. Louis

We spy a handful of iconic Saarinen chairs in the interior of architect Robert Elkington's self-designed midcentury residence—long since potentially threatened by demolition and disrepair.

Image courtesy of Kyrle Boldt III.

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
4 / 8
Residence for Morton D. May by Samuel A. Marx, in Ladue, Missouri, 1940.

A swirling, sculptural staircase serves as the centerpiece in this 1940 residence designed by Samuel A. Marx for Morton D. May in Ladue, Missouri. 

Credit: © Chicago History Museum, Hedrich-Blessing, photographer

 

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
5 / 8
Ceiling by Isamu Noguchi at American Stove Company

This biomorphic, space-age ceiling was designed by Japanese-American artist and designer Isamu Noguchi, in the building of the American Stove Company, designed by architect Harris Armstrong. 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Museum
6 / 8
Charles and Ray Eames, 1977, at an exhibition of their works at Washington University.

In 1977, favorite California's midcentury modern pioneers Charles and Ray Eames exhibited a selection of their bent plywood pieces at Washington University, including the leg splints they produced as part of the war effort in 1942, shown here hanging on the wall. Charles also studied architecture at Washington University, briefly, on scholarship for two years.

 Credit: Charles Eames Archive, University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Washington University Libraries

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
7 / 8
Wool rug by Charles Eames for John Philip Meyer House in St. Louis, Missouri

This wool rug featuring a graphic, geometric pattern in natural tones was designed by Charles Eames in 1938, and used in the master bedroom of the John Philip Meyer House in St. Louis.

Credit: Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of Abigail Dunn and Tirzah Quinta Dunn Scott in honor of their parents Tirzah P. Dunn and Frederick W. Dunn 149:1982 © Eames Office, LLC

Courtesy of 
Saint Louis Art Museum
8 / 8
Eero Saarinen with models of the Gateway Arch.

Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen designed the Gateway Arch monument, completed in St. Louis in 1965 (it opened to the public in 1967). The world's largest arch, the iconic, 632-foot tall structure was built as a monument to westward expansion in the United States. Here, he's shown alongside models of the arch.

Credit: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives; © St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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