For the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair, also known as “The Century of Progress”, John D Rockefeller Jr. commissioned a large scale model of the massive visionary architectural development he was planning for midtown Manhattan.
His wish was to showcase this scale model in this World Fair setting to inspire the entire world how the United States was imagining something grand – even during the midst of the “Great Depression”.
The scale model “John Jr” ordered was hand built out of beautifully detailed inlaid stained wood, exhibiting rare and unique craftsmanship. As well as featured wonderful hand carved details of each sculptural artwork that would later adorn the actual building that would evolve into Rockefeller Center.
After nearly fifty years of storage in Radio City Music Hall’s basement, this original art piece was brought to life again with a thorough restoration by Hans Carl Clausen, aka “Mr Model”, Director of Architecte Miniatura. In time for a special exhibition celebrating Rockefeller Center’s 50th Anniversary.
An exhibition that respected and recognized the masterpiece of architectural imagination and complex metropolitan design that is Rockefeller Center, still appreciated and studied by professionals, professors and students today.
This large detailed absolutely beautiful scale model is now on permanent display inside Rockefeller Center’s RCI Building, where it can be appreciated by the world public for its’ hand built skill and artistry.
It was my sincere pleasure to have worked on this magnificent architectural model, this piece of history with its intricate detailing that I made every effort to match in appearance and preserve for the future. It was also my pleasure to make the acquaintance of several members of the Rockefeller family, including the grandson of Nelson Rockefeller, who personally took these photos of me while I was at work on his great grandfather’s masterpiece.
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“This is just a short note to tell you how very much we appreciate the time, effort and skill you devoted to restoration of the model of the RCA, British and French Buildings for the Center’s 50th anniversary exhibit. Those of us who viewed the model prior to your work can truly marvel at your dedication to the project and your respect for this very special part of Rockefeller Center’s history.”
Robert C Marville / Executive Vice President / Rockefeller Center
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