Architectural Archives

  • Paradise Theater, Chicago, Illinois, 1928

John Eberson (1875-1964)

Eberson was born in Cernauti, Bukovina, a region of Romania. He attended high school in Dresden and studied at the University of Vienna in 1893. After escaping from prison (he was incarcerated after a disagreement with a superior officer in his military regiment) Eberson moved to the United States and settled in St. Louis, Missouri. His earliest atmospheric experiments are found in his stage design and painting work between 1901-03 for the Johnston Realty and Construction Company. Eberson's earliest known conventional theater commission was for the Jewel in Hamilton, Ohio (1909). After moving to Chicago in 1910 he began to receive steady theater design work. While his early commissions could be characterized as traditional, by the mid-1910's Eberson had clearly forged a new direction with the Austin Majestic (1916) and Dallas Majestic theaters (1917). His first truly Atmospheric Theater, the Houston Majestic, opened in 1923. The Atmospheric Theaters reflected Eberson's European heritage. Italian influences, especially in statuary and interior motifs. In addition, were landscape and garden influences. Eberson's theater interiors contained numerous fountains and grottoes.

[Adapted from an exhibition publication of the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College (1988)]

About the Collection

The collection includes student work and four atmospheric theatre projects, Loew's Theatre (Louisville, KY; 1927), Loew's Theatre (Akron, OH; 1928), Avalon Theatre (Chicago, IL; 1925), Paradise Theatre (Chicago, IL; 1928).

Gift of Drew Eberson (1984).