Gerald Kenneth Geerlings’ winning etching

geerling at night3

geerling at night

Gerald Kenneth Geerlings (born 1897-1998), Grand Canal, America (also called Electrical Building at Night) [Chicago Fair], 1933. Etching and drypoint on yellow/green paper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2007.01331

The American artist Gerald Geerlings was awarded first prize for the best etching at the 1933 “Century of Progress,” Chicago World’s Fair. Click here to view a large photographic panorama of century of progress from the Library of Congress collection.geerling at night2

According to the Chicago Tribune‘s 1934 World’s Fair Notes I: “In two seasons the 85,000 lights at the Fair have cost $800,000 forty. According to J. L. McConnell, construction chief, 35,000 of them have been broken or replaced. The largest was a 3,000 watt arc and the smallest a 73h watt bulb.” [Chicago Tribune 10/21/1934]

“[Shepard] Vogelgesang collaborated with J. L. McConnell, the director of electrical effects, to get an idea of how to effectively merge color and light at night. Illumination in 1934 was reported to be about fifty per cent greater than in 1933. Two scintillators shot variegated patterns of colored light into the sky. The most spectacular new feature of the 1934 fair was the huge new fountain which was illuminated and colored by submarine flood lights extending the length of the fountain. The ever changing lights could be controlled either automatically or by hand.” [Century of Progress website]

geerling at night4