The Old Boys Club at the Chicago Athletic Association  

The Old Boys Club at the Chicago Athletic Association

Blog | September 30, 2016

A marble statue from the Chicago Athletic Association by Italian Sculptor Scipione Tadolini will be offered in the October 19 Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver auction, offering a rare opportunity to own a work of art from one of Chicago's beloved buildings and from one of the most opulent periods in the city's history.

In 1893 Chicago’s oldest boys’ club was founded as the Chicago Athletic Association (CAA) with members such as Marshall Field, Cyrus McCormick and William Wrigley. Offering fine dining and all types of sport, the club quickly established itself with a hierarchy of membership levels and all things leisure. For more than 120 years it operated as an exclusive club.

 

The CAA boasted a European aesthetic from the building’s Venetian façade to the ornate interior design. Rather fittingly, male icons from antiquity and beyond adorned the building, including Adonis, the Greek god of beauty and desire, who was added to the CAA boys’ club roster in this way.

 

The mythological Adonis has been memorialized in art through the ages, and an excellent 1876 marble statue from the CAA by Italian sculptor Scipione Tadolini, “Adonis with Bow, Quiver,” will be offered in the October 19 Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver auction (estimated at $20,000-30,000). “What makes this sculpture notable in particular,” says Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ fine furniture and decorative arts specialist Corbin Horn, “is that it is depicted on a monumental scale (because it is raised on a large pedestal), as well as the fact that it has an illustrious provenance.”

 

 

At the time, the CAA was striking in part because its style was so different from other buildings in the area.  Not only was it Chicagoans’ destination for sport and socializing, but the CAA also drew international attention from those visiting the 1893 World’s Fair, also known as the Columbian Exposition, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World.

 

Today, thanks to its renovation and reincarnation in 2015 as a chic hotel, bar and restaurant, the Chicago Athletic Hotel is equally striking. The rooftop bar, Cindy’s, features an Andy Warhol portrait of Cindy Pritzker, after whom it was named. But rather than gutting the interiors and saving the façade, the design was built around the building’s historic interiors such as its millwork, stained glass, marble work and oak. “One of the amazing aspects about the renovation is that by preserving the historic aspects of the building, the integrity of the building is uncompromised. This rarely happens when historic buildings are converted,” notes Horn. 

 

This is not the first time items from the CAA have been auctioned. In 2008, LHA sold nearly $500,000 of CAA property, including this Adonis, for $50,400. In addition, the dishes, glassware and other works of art were also sold. Back on the block, Adonis offers a rare opportunity to own a work of art from one of Chicago’s most beloved buildings and from one of the most opulent periods in the city’s history.

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