Atelier Jouvence puts finishing touch on the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing

November 24, 2009 — CHICAGORead more in the Chicago Tribune >

The new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago has received rave reviews for its beautiful Renzo Piano design. Now, the building’s design is complete with hand-carved engravings provided by a Chicago artisan.

Olivier Dumont carefully carving titling into the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern WingMaster carver Olivier Dumont carefully adjusts a letterform on the Modern Wing facade from 75 feet above Chicago’s Columbus Drive.

Master stonecarver Olivier Dumont of Atelier Jouvence, a Chicago stonecarving company, was commissioned to sculpt all of the engraved signage into the limestone façade of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing. Because the stonework had already been installed on the building, the museum sought an artist with the artistic stonecarving skills and expertise to execute the carving on-site.Often in precarious positions, the Atelier Jouvence artisans were sometimes carving 25 to 75 feet above the ground. Carving the final, large “Art Institute” sign on the Columbus St. side of the building required Dumont and his team to use a 100-foot aerial lift in order to complete the carving. Upon completing the lettering for the signs, the Atelier Jouvence artisans in-filled the each letter with graphite to make the signage more visible.“It’s extremely rewarding to be included in the craftsmanship that has gone into creating the beautiful Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago,” Dumont says. “We had to use great concentration and work carefully because we were carving directly into the limestone façade of the completed building.” The Atelier Jouvence team worked before the museum’s operating hours in order to complete the project without disrupting Art Institute visitors.

A detail of Atelier Jouvence's hand-carved lettering for the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern WingA closeup of the facade’s carving, which consists of fifteen-inch-tall letterforms.

One of only a handful of French master stonecarvers currently working in the United States, Dumont is a native of Dijon, France. Dumont received his carving instruction and training at Lycee des Marcs d’Or, a well-known stone carving school near his hometown. Dumont apprenticed and worked professionally throughout France, accumulating diverse artistry skills, reflective of each region’s native stones, carving techniques, and historic inspirations.Dumont’s 18 years of professional stonecarving experience, both in France and the U.S., have comprised a wide range of carving and historic restoration projects including numerous cathedrals and other historic buildings. In addition to his mastery of stonecarving, Dumont also has extensive training in art history and interior design.

About the Company

Atelier Jouvence Custom Stoneworks is a full-service stone carving company that works with architects, interior designers, builders, and homeowners to create custom-designed stonework in a wide array of imported and domestic natural limestone and marble, both for interiors and exteriors. They have completed work in a wide range of styles reflecting diverse European architectural periods including Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, Classical and Contemporary. Atelier Jouvence can custom-design and hand-carve a wide range of stonework, working from a photo, sketch, architectural drawing, or simply an idea. For information, call Sonia Dumont at (312) 492-7922, or visit www.ajstoneworks.com.