Cincinnati Panorama of 1848
Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter’ Cincinnati Panorama of 1848, the oldest wide view photograph of an American city, returns to permanent display after more than half a century out of the public eye. Located in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room, this award-winning masterpiece is revered worldwide as one of the finest examples of daguerreian photography. Displayed in its original mat and mid 19th century frame, it is protected from deterioration with an interior housing of argon gas and filtered lights. Two interactive displays, one adjacent to the original and a second in the Main Library’s Atrium, allow the viewer to experience Cincinnati’s bustling riverfront through high definition images on touch screens. Navigate and zoom in for a glimpse of life along the riverfront in 1848. Points of Interest in the digital displays provide further exploration through portraits, newspapers, advertisements, documents, and maps from the time period.
Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain
The Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain is located on the Vine Street Plaza in front of the Main Library. Conceived and executed by former Cincinnati sculptor Michael Frasca, this ornamental fountain was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Weinberg and was dedicated in 1990. Affectionately known as the “book fountain,” the sculpture features water cascading over a stack of ceramic tile books, representing the free flow of information and ideas through the printed word. The fountain is a popular spot for school groups and tourists.
Historic Stained Glass Windows
When the original Main Library opened to the public in 1874, three beautiful, intricate stained glass windows graced one of the reading rooms in the building. The windows were designed and manufactured by Riordan Art Glass in Cincinnati, now BeauVerre Riordan Studios.
In 1955, when the building was demolished, the windows were sold at auction, later to resurface as part of the décor of the Old Spaghetti Factory on Pete Rose Way. After the restaurant closed in 1997, the Library purchased the windows and began making plans to return them to the Main Library for the appreciation and enjoyment of our customers and staff.
Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Public Library and the Annabel Fey Trust Fund, the three windows have now been restored to their original glory by River City Art Glass and Restoration, Inc. and placed on permanent display on each floor of the Main Library. The restoration and display of these historic stained glass windows are dedicated in honor of Robert D. Stonestreet for his 31 years of service to the Library, including as Library Director from 1991–1998.
Louise Nevelson Sculpture
The 8th & Walnut Street entrance to the Main Library is flanked by “Sky Landscape II,” a major public sculpture by world-renowned artist Louise Nevelson (1899–1988). The 3,800-pound, 20-foot tall painted steel sculpture was relocated to the library on January 8, 1993. It had been given to the City of Cincinnati by Federated Department Stores (now known as Macy’s), who had commissioned the piece in 1980 for the entrance to their 7 West Seventh Street headquarters.
Honoring Our Veterans
The Veterans’ Memorial display case, located in the Atrium of the Main Library, recognizes the sacrifice and contribution of local veterans and showcases our collection of veterans’ memorabilia.
Cincinnati Public Schools City-Wide Art Exhibition 2015
This annual exhibition of artwork from kindergarten through 12th-grade students includes drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Students compete across the school district for the privilege of exhibiting their work. The pieces are then judged by local artists and art teachers, with awards given to the top students. The exhibit will be on view in the atrium of the Main Library from March 14 through April 19 and is presented in partnership with the Cincinnati Public Schools.
Artists and Authors Unite
The exhibit, which runs through March 29 in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room, showcases an extensive collection of works compiled by George Macy, who revolutionized the art of fine book making when he established the Limited Editions Club in 1929. He offered subscribers visually exquisite limited editions of literary classics featuring original illustrations by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Norman Rockwell, and Grant Wood. All are signed by the illustrator. Among the books on display are:
- Poor Richard: The Almanac for the Years 1733–1758 by Richard Saunders (Benjamin Franklin). Reprinted in 1964, illustrated by Normal Rockwell. One of only 1500 copies.
- Lysistrata by Aristophanes, reprinted in 1934 and illustrated by Pablo Picasso. One of 1500 copies.
- Cathay: Poem after Li Po by Ezra Pound, reprinted in 1992, including seven color woodcuts by Francesco Clements. One of only 300 copies
- Music, Deep Rivers in My Soul by Maya Angelou, published in 2003, illustrated by Dean Mitchell. One of only 400 copies, signed by Mitchell and Wynton Marsalis, who produced an original jazz composition to accompany the book.
For additional information about any of the exhibits listed, please call our Programs & Exhibits Coordinator at 513-369-6944.