Alphonso Ianelli

View Exhibit map

Alfonso Iannelli was an Italian-American sculptor, artist, and industrial designer. Iannelli worked in Chicago for most of his life. Born in Andretta, Italy on February 17, 1888 he emigrated to Illinois in 1898. He continued his art education and one of his mentors was Gutzon Borglum.

Iannelli was invited by Frank Lloyd Wright to work on the Midway Gardens project, when Iannelli created several of the Midway's "Sprite" sculptures. Wright, as he often did, took credit for the statues, thus ending any collaborations with Wright.

When Enrst Grunfeld designed the Adler Planitarium in the late 1920s, Ianelli designed and created the famous art deco plaques of zodiac signs and of the planets. The plaques were created before the discovery of Pluto, so the little planet was missing from the Solar System display. Now that Pluto has been demoted and is no longer considered a planet, Ianelli's work is correct again!

He went on to open Iannelli Studios in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Alphonso Ianelli died on March 23, 1965 in Chicago.


Adler Planetarium (Cook County, Illinois)
Alphonso Johnson House (New Haven County, Connecticut)
Catlow Theatre (Lake County, Illinois)
Listed as on of the top ten theaters in the United States
Charleston Municipal Auditorium (Kanawha County, West Virginia)
Ladies' Relief Society Children's Home (Alameda County, California)
Winnebago County Courthouse (Winnebago County, Wisconsin)
Art Deco courthouse from 1937, featuring bas relief sculpture, bronze fixtures and art deco engraved lettering
Woodbury County Courthouse (Woodbury County, Iowa)