Since its completion in 1932, the Nebraska State Capitol has been widely recognized as an architectural masterpiece, one that justifiably inspires pride in the citizens of the state and admiration in people everywhere. Rising four hundred feet from a massive two-story base, domed with gold-glazed tile and topped with a bronze statue of a pioneer sower of grain, it can be seen for miles on the plains. This most striking of statehouses, designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in 1920 and under construction for a decade, successfully embodies the union of art, architecture, and humanism.
A Harmony of the Arts: The Nebraska State Capitol surveys in words and pictures the architectural achievement and the artists responsible for it. Frederick C. Luebke introduces the book with a history of the capitals and capitols of Nebraska. H. Keith Sawyers writes about Goodhue’s architectural vision, which was carried out by other artists after his death. David Murphy examines the contribution of Hartley Burr Alexander, the philosopher and anthropologist who developed the symbological details of Goodhue’s vision and invested the building’s many inscriptions with poetic elegance. Dale L. Gibbs considers Lee Lawrie’s sculpture, remarkably congruent with the general design. Joan Woodside and Betsy Gabb discuss the decorative art of the mosaicist, Hildreth Meiere. Norman Geske and Jon Nelson examine the capitol murals, painted by eight artists over four decades. And Robert C. Ripley allows the reader to see the building in its setting, as landscaped by Ernst Herminghaus. Lavishly illustrated and handsomely produced, A Harmony of the Arts presents the first survey in many years of Nebraska’s magnificent capitol and offers new ways of looking at it.
About the Author
Frederick C. Luebke, the editor, is Charles J. Mach Distinguished University Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he teaches the history of Nebraska and the American West. Many of his articles and other books focus on the history and culture of the Great Plains.