“The Standard Club, homeless since deciding to close in 2020 and agreeing this year to sell its Plymouth Court building, is loaning—and potentially donating—some of its artwork to the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Four Great Chicago Fire-themed murals by 20th-century painter and woodcarver Edgar Miller will be conveyed to the museum under a four-year loan agreement, according to what members were told last night in a Zoom call annual meeting. If the club fails to find a new home by the end of the period, it will offer to donate the nearly 70-year-old murals to the Art Institute.
“The Standard Club lives on, with about 300 remaining members, reduced dues and hopes of occupying another building. In the meantime, members enjoy reciprocal privileges with the Union League Club of Chicago and other clubs across the country. The Standard Club’s 11-story property was sold to real estate investor Remo Polselli, with a recorded purchase price of $9 million.
“The Miller panels are in climate-controlled storage after being removed from the club’s first-floor bar room in February by Methods & Materials, an art installer and rigger based on the Northwest Side. Roger Machin, its director, confirmed they were destined for the Art Institute.
“Unlike other fixtures at the club, the panels were not auctioned off.
“‘I think that Miller’s work is not particularly well known, and they’re very large pieces,’ some 12 feet by 6 feet and more suitable for a museum, says Zac Bleicher, executive director of the Chicago-based Edgar Miller Legacy project. ‘What makes the murals at the Standard Club so unique, you have to carve into (black) linoleum,’ he added, citing the technique as popular with railroad car decorators of yore.
“The Standard Club’s most visible work of art—’Complex Forms With Color Ink Washes Superimposed’ by Sol LeWitt—was a mural in the third-floor dining room that measured 16 feet by 27 or 28 feet. Painted on a wall, it will disappear, by design, if it hasn’t already. Rights to recreate it were auctioned off by Sotheby’s last year for $189,000. (Strahler, Crain’s Chicago Business, 6/29/22)
Standard Club artwork headed for Art Institute; Edgar Miller’s Great Chicago Fire panels will go on loan and may stay there if the club fails to find a new home, Steven R. Strahler, Crain’s Chicago Business, 6/29/22