Alfonso Iannelli

Feb 17, 1888 - Mar 23, 1965

Alfonso Iannelli was an Italian-American sculptor, artist, and industrial designer.
Based in Chicago for most of his life, Iannelli was born in Andretta, Italy on February 17, 1888. He came to America in 1898. He studied to be a sculptor under Gutzon Borglum, later famous for Mount Rushmore.
From 1910 to 1915, he designed posters for the vaudeville acts appearing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Architect John Lloyd Wright saw his work, and the two became friends. John introduced Iannelli's work to his father, Frank Lloyd Wright, who invited Iannelli to work with him on his Midway Gardens project in 1914. Iannelli created several of the Midway's Sprite sculptures for Wright. Wright, however, claimed credit for the pieces, leading to a bitter division and the ultimate demise of their partnership.
He also collaborated with Chicago architect Ernest A. Grunsfeld III on several Art Déco-style plaques in 1929 to 1930 for the Adler Planetarium. These contributions include the zodiac signs of astrology and depictions of the planets in their mythological forms. About this time, Ianelli also designed an exterior fountain for the Riverside Studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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