Samuel Yellin and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
March 20 — July 22, 2018
Permanent Collection and Stairwell Galleries
This exhibition is the second in the “Collection Intervention” series, which places objects and special signage within the permanent collection gallery displays. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is a beautiful illustration of early 20th Century interiors, the design of which was overseen by the Chicago firm of Watson and Walton. The spaces are accented by the handwrought ironwork of master blacksmith Samuel Yellin. Born in Mogilev, Russia, Yellin was apprenticed to an iron master at age 11. He left Russia and arrived in America at the age of 21. He eventually opened his own shop in Philadelphia, where he worked in traditional methods while encouraging creativity and contemporary design. During the building boom of the 1920’s, the studio included as many as 250 artisans, and there work is found in some of the finest buildings in America.
When the studio’s workload slowed during the Depression, Yellin looked for a way to keep is workers busy. He created intricate designs on paper and asked them to experiment by executing them in “sketches of iron.” These works demonstrate a great ability to control mental, giving the impression that the material is far more flexible than it actually is.
The exhibition provides introductory signage in the Museum’s lobby, informational panels highlighting Yellin features throughout the building, actual paper records of the Museum building’s work from the Yellin archives, and iron sketches on loan from the artist’s granddaughter, Clare Yellin, an ironsmith who still runs the family business.