Adler's Inspirations | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

Adler's Inspirations 

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After architect David Adler graduated from Princeton in 1904 he went to Germany and then to France to study firsthand the historical styles he would later adapt in designing his elegant American country homes. While overseas he began to collect picture postcards--not the usual naughty Parisian lady stuff, but photographs and drawings of the great mansions and public buildings of Europe, which he often referred to as he worked. After he died, in 1949, the collection--about 500 cards--went to his sister and frequent collaborator, interior decorator Francis Elkins, who in turn bequeathed them to a California library. The library eventually put them up for auction and they were purchased by collector Stephen Salny. Last week Salny made a gift of the collection to Libertyville's David Adler Cultural Center, which had borrowed 100 of the cards for its current show, David Adler: Picture Perfect. The center is located in Adler's home, an 1864 farmhouse he bought in 1917 and expanded to 23 rooms. The exhibit, which includes drawings and other items from Adler's files recently donated to the center by his family, is an apt companion to the Adler retrospective ("David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style") that's on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago through May 18. "Picture Perfect" runs through February; the Adler center is at 1700 N. Milwaukee in Libertyville. Exhibit hours this weekend are 10 to 2 Friday, December 20, and 1 to 5 Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22. Hours January 5 through February 28 are 1 to 4 Sunday and 10 to 2 Tuesday and Friday. There's a suggested donation of $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 or younger. Call 847-367-0707.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/courtesy Princeton Universoty Library.

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