Courthouse works among the artist's most demanding


of The News-Sentinel

The master behind the four arcing murals in the Allen County Courthouse rotunda was Charles Holloway.

Holloway, 1859-1941, was born in Philadelphia, and attended and later taught at Washington University Art School in St. Louis.

He is best known for his artistry in the 4,000-seat Auditorium Theater in Chicago. There, he conceived the proscenium arch mural. It depicts a frieze of 45 life-sized classical figures, creating a pictorial expression for the words in its center: "The utterance of life is a song, the symphony of nature" from Louis Sullivan's poem, "Inspiration." Its procession of monks and young men and women represents the cycles of life and death; past, present and future; or, in musical terms, crescendo and decrescendo.

He exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900, winning a gold medal for his stained glass and painted decorations. His commissions also included the Pierre, S.D., state capitol, and many college theaters.

However, the Allen County Courthouse murals were said to be his most-demanding work because of their great size and complex arc shapes.

Each mural spans 45 feet across its wall and reaches 25 feet high. Holloway painted four themes, "Joy and Peace," "Law and Order," "Despotism" and "War," telling of achievements and struggles humans have experienced from the beginning of time.

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