Mrs. James Thorne and her collaborator Eugene Kupjack: They were responsible for creating what I believes is the finest collection of miniature rooms in the world. These rooms are now on display in the lower level of the Chicago Art Institute and are one of the museum's most popular exhibits. (http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/search/cit/category%3A15)

The original rooms were produced by Narcissa Niblack Thorne, widow of James Ward thorn, a Montegomery Ward & Company department store heir. They were first shown in 1939 Worlds Fair and given to The Chicago ArtInstitute in 1941. Mrs Thorne in collaboration with Eugene Kupjack of Chicago created a series of miniature preiod rooms. These rooms first went on displayat the International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939.

Mrs. Thorne was the driving force behind the creation of these rooms. She financed the project and coordinated a group of collaborators to make them happen. Skidmore, Owens and Merrill, a Chicago based architectural firm, designed the rooms, which were then built/constructed by Eugene Kupjack. The furniture, fabrics, art works and other items inside the room boxes were produced by various artisans from around the world and personall selected by Mrs. Thorne.

The Chicago Institute's Boxes were essentially completed by 1941. However, while working together Mrs. Thorne and Eugene Kupjack became good friends. After concluding the museum project she continued her interest in working with miniatures and started a relationship with the Chicago Women's Exchange where she leased space and collaborated with Eugene Kupjack to produce numerous high quality miniature rooms and shadow boxes targeted for sale to the serious collector.

Mrs. Thorne and Eugene Kupjack collaborated for several more years, until the Woman's Exchanged closed.

 

Click here to see photos of a few of her rooms