[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa.]
IANNELLI, Margaret Spaulding [1893–1967]
opaque watercolor on tracing paper / 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches
In the history of early 20th Century art, there are a handful of genuine husband-wife creative partnerships. Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney brought the Midwestern “Progressive Movement” to both Australia and India. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald collaborated in Glasgow, Scotland. And, less well known, even Frank Lloyd Wright found his intellectual soulmate in Mamah Borthwick, wife of client Edwin Cheney. [Yes, he was related to the former vice president.]
This minuscule watercolor was painted by another Chicago artist, Margaret Iannelli. She is regrettably far less well known than her husband, Alfonso, who collaborated with Wright on important projects like the Midway Gardens project of 1914. Just as regrettably, Prohibition put the Gardens out of business and it was demolished in 1929. As with many collaborations it is difficult to identify the contributions of Margaret and Alfonso. In this case, however, the drawing is hers, one of many she did for advertising and book illustration. We are fortunate indeed to have such an ephemeral piece from an important American artistic period.