firm active: 1907-1921

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Woodbury County Court House
William L. Steele, architect
Purcell and Elmslie, associated architects
Sioux City, Iowa  1915/1916

Mural cartoon for lobby, by John W. Norton
Pencil and paint on paper   circa 1916

The irony in this picture is transcendent. Depicting the fruitful harvest of the bounteous land, with a sheaf-laden farmer standing in front of a near-Colonial small house heading toward the platform of civic authority to a blindfolded but bare breasted Justice, the figures are clothed in decidedly Classical robing.  Aside from the nudity, which was also rejected in some measure by the arbiters of the public taste when Alphonso Ianelli's suggestion of nude exterior figures was summarily vetoed, these were not your down-to-earth Midwesterners as they saw themselves.  If you look at the lower right hand corner, you can see the original pencil sketch edging out from the painted surface.

   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:P&E 276]
research courtesy mark hammons