St. Louis Art Museum

Cass Gilbert

Known as the Palace of the Fine Arts, the art museum was built for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the only major building of the fair built as a permanent structure and after it served its function at the exposition and after the surrounding temporary pavilions were removed, the main structure became the art musuem in 1906. It occupies a spectacular setting at the top of Art Hill in Forest Park--not so spectacular, admittedly, in the dead of winter with slushy, dirty snow!

Oblique views


The classical facade

Although Gilbert may be best known for his important sycraper design (the Woolworth Building), other important works show the influence of classical architecture--works such as the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D. C. and the West Virginia State Capitol. At the time Gilbert was working, the most impressive designs for important buildings derived from Greek and Roman architecture. Thus this palace of culture has a portico, pediments, and the sculptural trappings that were expected. Inside, the central feature was its great Sculpture Hall, whose design was inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.

Views of the side

See index for other works by Gilbert on this site.

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.