Louis Henri Sullivan, an Architectural Chronology & Legacy in Photos

Louis Henri Sullivan was one of the most innovative American architects. His buildings are often distinguished by their decoration in what can be described as a combination Art Nouveau and Celtic scrollwork. He is was an early mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright. Original images by Jim Steinhart trace Louis Henri Sullivan's artistry & legacy.

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  • September 4, 1856: Louis Henri Sullivan born in Boston.
  • 1872: Studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 1873: Moved to Philadelphia to work for architect Frank Furness, designer of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
  • 1873: Laid off by Furness due to depression of 1873.
  • 1873: Moved to Chicago & worked for architect William LeBaron Jenney.
  • 1874: Moved to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts.
  • Traveled to Rome & finds revelation in Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling.
  • 1875: After 6 mos in Europe, returned to Chicago to work for Joseph S. Johnston & John Edelman as a draftsman.
  • 1875: Became fascinated with new architecture based on iron construction through friendship with engineer Frederick Baumann.
  • Obtained commissions to decorate Edelmann's Sinai Synagogue & then Moody Tabernacle.
  • 1879: Employed by architect Dankmar Adler.
  • 1880: Becomes partner in Adler & Sullivan.
Sullivan Art

Sullivan Art

Sullivan Art
Kauffmann Store
Mannheimer Home
Ryerson Tomb
Desenberg Block

Desenberg Block

Desenberg Block
Auditorium Building
Auditorium window
  • 1890s: Adler & Sullivan shift to designing office buildings.

  • 1891: Wainwright Building, St. Louis. They invent aesthetic treatment for highrise exterior.
Wainwright Building

Wainwright Building
Charnley House

Charnley House
Adler & Sullivan 1890s commissions. Getty Tomb

Getty Tomb

Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv Synagogue
1893 Chicago World's Fair Transportation Hall

1893 World's Columbian Exposition Transportation Hall
Guaranty Building

Guaranty Building

Guaranty Building
  • 1895: Adler & Sullivan dissolve partnership after drop in commissions resulting from financial Panic of 1893.
  • Since Adler was the partner who landed most commissions, Sullivan's career starts its decline.
Condict Building

Condict Building
Carson Pirie Scott Store

Carson Pirie Scott Store
Sullivan exists on small commissions. Holy Trinity Cathedral
Sullivan lands a series of commissions for what he calls Jewel Box banks. Owatonna, MN Jewel Box Bank

Cedar Rapids, IA Jewel Box Bank

Grinnell, IA Jewel Box Bank

Newark, OH Jewel Box Bank

People's Federal Savings & Loan Association, Sidney, OH

Columbus, WI Jewel Box Bank
Van Allen Store, Clinton, IA
Krause Music Store
Sullivan Gravestone

Sullivan Monument

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All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Jim Steinhart.
All rights reserved. Permission required to use.