Image of sculpture by Alfonso Iannelli.
Sculpture by Alfonso Iannelli

In 1914, artist and sculptor Alfonso Iannelli came to Chicago from Los Angeles to work on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Midway Gardens. Iannelli created the famous Sprite figures, the angular, column-like figures that graced Midway’s three-acre beer garden. Iannelli and his artist wife, Margaret, moved to Chicago in 1915 and eventually settled in Park Ridge in 1920, where they maintained a studio workshop.

Iannelli worked throughout his life as an architect, sculptor, industrial designer, and teacher. His work embraced the streamlined modernism of Art Deco, focusing on solid colors and simplified geometry. He and Margaret brought a high-degree of sophistication to their advertising, print, and design work, emphasizing the importance of design and beauty in everyday life.

This bronze sculpture, a later cast from the 1908 plaster original, reveals Iannelli’s artistic roots before he embraced his signature geometric modern style. Spring gives us a young woman, perhaps a water nymph, that harkens back in style and character to Symbolist and Art Nouveau movements of the 19th century.

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