About This Artwork

Adler & Sullivan, original architects; American, 1883-1896
Vinci & Kenny, reconstruction architects; American, 1970-1977

Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room: Reconstruction at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1893/94 (original built)
1972 (original demolished)
1976/77 (reconstructed)

Mixed media recreation of room
Room is roughly 5,704 square feet (not including gallery)

Gift of Three Oaks Wrecking Company, RX23310/0002

Chicago has been the major center for American architecture since the late 19th century. One of the city's most important early architects was Louis Sullivan, who, with his partner, Dankmar Adler, designed the Chicago Stock Exchange, built in 1893–94. When the Stock Exchange was demolished in 1972, sections of Sullivan's elaborate stenciled decorations, molded plaster capitals, and art glass were preserved from the Trading Room, the magnificent centerpiece of this 13-story structure. Using these fragments, the Art Institute was able to reconstruct the Trading Room in its new wing in 1976–77.

— Entry, Art Institute of Chicago Pocketguide, 2009, p. 14.


The metal-frame Chicago Stock Exchange building was one of Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan’s most distinctive commercial structures. The centerpiece of this thirteen-story building was the Trading Room, a dramatic, double-height space that was designed for the daily operations of the Stock Exchange and filled with Sullivan’s lush organic ornament and stenciled patterns. Despite the singular beauty of this room, it served its original function for just fourteen years and was occupied only sporadically thereafter. In the late 1960s, the building was targeted for demolition and became the focus of an important, although ultimately unsuccessful, preservation battle. During the course of demolition, photographer and activist Richard Nickel was working to salvage ornament from the building when the unstable structure collapsed and he was tragically killed. As a tribute to Nickel and Sullivan, sections of the Trading Room stencils, molded pilaster capitals, and art glass were preserved and in 1977 the Art Institute created a complete reconstruction of this significant room in a new wing of the museum. At the same time, the monumental entry arch of the Stock Exchange was erected on the museum grounds near the corner of Monroe Street and Columbus Drive.

— Entry, Essential Guide, 2009, p. 63.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Space open to the public in the museum's Rubloff Building.

Publication History

Vinci, John, ed. 1989. The Trading Room: Louis Sullivan and The Chicago Stock Exchange. Art Institute of Chicago.

Art Institute of Chicago. 1990. Fragments of Chicago's Past: The Collection of Architectural Fragments at The Art Institute of Chicago. Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago, cat. no. 68, pp. 139-141.

Zukowsky, John, and Martha Thorne. 2004. Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture. Art Institute of Chicago/Rizzoli, pp. 44–45.




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