Dallas’ Mercantile bank complex, with a tower from 1943 being one of the few skyscrapers erected during WWII, sat empty for a number of years and was purchased in the mid oughts for renovation and partial destruction — the demolition slated to befall later additions to the complex. At the eleventh hour, historical preservationists realized the area slated for demolition contained a large number of mosaics created by noted industrial designer Millard Sheets, fabricated in Venice and installed in the Mercantile in the late 1950s.
Two friends of mine — Michael van Enter of Studio van Enter and Wes Sorensen of Conservation Arts Group — won the bid to save these works of art. The project covered a few months in early 2006, and I helped in the process.
A number of groups joined forces to save the mosaics which are currently in storage awaiting reinstallation in Dallas at a later date.
(check out more information and some photos after the jump.)
Some of the key players in saving the mosaics include Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, Preservation Dallas, and invester and downtown developer, Tim Headington, who footed the bill for the removal and storage of the art.
Here’s me (on the right) and Shelly, a co-worker, in front of “Air,” one of the larger pieces.
Removing one of the pieces.
More process …
A view of Dallas that is no longer accessible because the building no longer exists. This a view looking east from the 22nd floor rooftop balcony off of R.L. Thornton’s (one time president of Mercantile Bank and I-30 namesake) private apartment in the building. The central road in the image is Commerce Street.
The crated artwork waiting on final removal.
Wes and Michael
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