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The Art of the Law Quad

Beauty and details of the Quad inspire artists' creations

Dec. 17, 2013

When artist John Tebeau was deciding which places to feature in his Ann Arbor series, one place was a given: the Law Quad.

Law Quad Art

"I came to Michigan in 1982 and was floored when I walked into the Law Quad for the very first time. It was like a movie set—so iconic, timeless, and perfect," says the Brooklyn-based artist. "I stopped, took it in, and felt in my gut, 'This is college!' All that stone and ivy—it just killed me. I'm a guy who falls in love with places, and the Law Quad soon became my favorite spot on campus. Over my four years at the U, I read there, played there, napped there, and dreamed there."

Tebeau's hand-tinted version of a silkscreen print of a peaceful summer day on the Quad sold quickly at the Ann Arbor Art Center earlier this year, and many three-color screen prints remain available.

He's not alone among artists in his love of the Law Quad. Artists for decades have visited the site in search of details and inspiration, and today it remains a favorite for many local artists. Katherine Larson, for instance—whose work has appeared on the cover of the Ann Arbor Observer more than any other artist—has depicted the Quad in one of her fine-art watercolors and the Reading Room in another.

Many of Bill Shurtliff's drawings and watercolors highlight different perspectives of the Law Quad, which he loves for its "sheer beauty of the perfect proportions and classic design. And I love the many subtle colors in the stone. As a young boy, I rode my bike and played in the Quadrangle back in the '50s, so naturally, I am also very fond of it," he says.

Alan Jacobson was so inspired by the Quad that his artistic creation couldn't be contained in two dimensions. What appears in our slideshow to be a painting is actually a drawn-over 3D model. "I modeled the entire building in 3D. There is much more to the 'painting' than meets the eye." See what he means by watching his demo reel.

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