Learn about a piece of history as you cast your eyes on the timeless sculptures of the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum in Greenville, Illinois.
Where it Began
Enriched in Greenville history, the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum is proudly housed by Greenville College’s oldest building, Almira College House, which was constructed in 1855. The museum is named after German-born Richard Bock, who worked with American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for many years. The collection started when former Greenville College art history professor, Donald P. Hallmark, learned that after Bock’s death in 1949, his children kept all his masterworks in storage hoping to fulfill their father’s dream of his works being displayed. Many of the pieces have been in storage since 1932! It was until 1972 when the Bock Sculpture Collection was presented to the college on condition of the works being placed permanently on exhibition. After agreeing on the terms, Hallmark then brought the first pieces of the collection from Los Angeles, California to Greenville, Illinois. Hallmark dedicated a team that included his wife and Greenville College’s art department to begin restoring and cataloging Bock’s pieces for his posthumous exhibition, and in the fall of 1975, the museum was opened to the public.
Bock established his first sculpture in downtown Chicago in 1891 after returning from three years of schooling in Berlin and Paris. He obtained major commissions that included Chicago Columbian Exposition and the exterior architectural sculpture. At the same time of the Chicago Columbian Exposition, he won a national competition where his entry piece was installed at the Indianapolis Public Library. Bock continued to thrive in the Chicago area and all over the country. In his last years before retirement, Bock returned to his hometown River Forest, Illinois, to design a colossus for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition at Chicago, but the project never was completed. At the age of 84, Bock died of Parkinson’s Disease in 1949.
More than 300 of bronze and plaster sculptures are in the collection that varies from renderings of Europe and early ideas for projects and commissions. Several architectural drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright are also featured, as well as personal letters written by Bock, Wright, Alphonso Iannelli, Karl Bitter, and William Gray Purcell. The Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum is open Monday through Friday by appointment only. Contact Dr. Sharon Grimes, Director of the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum at (618) 664-6521 to experience the life and work of Bock.
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