Purcell—Cutts House

The Purcell-Cutts House, designed and built by William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie, is a masterpiece of Prairie School architecture. Located at 2328 Lake Place in Minneapolis, the house has been extensively restored and is now a part of the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Unified Vision, an online interactive media program, explores the modern concepts of unified design through the exemplary Prairie School collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Featured is an online tour of the Purcell-Cutts house.

Purcell-Cutts House Window Conservation Project

The art glass windows in the Purcell-Cutts House are a signifcant contribution to its success as an example of the Prairie School style of architecture. The windows have aged well since the house was completed in December 1913, but several are in need of imminent repair. Architect George Grant Elmslie provided the designs for the windows to E. L. Sharretts’s Mosaic Art Shops of Minneapolis. Sharretts fabricated them using zinc came (metal channels that hold together the glass panes) and various types of glass: clear craquelure, colored opalescent, green tint hammered glass, and window glass.

From June through September 2016, six windows and their sashes are being conserved, as well as the sashes of two other windows, all from the second oor of the house. Several of these windows are from the east (front) façade of the house, where excessive exposure to sunlight and built-up heat between the art glass windows and the interior storm windows have degraded the grout securing the glass in the cames, causing bowing and leaking.

Because the windows are objects in the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s collection (the house is the largest object in the collection), they are being conserved to maintain as many of their original parts as possible. The Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) in Minneapolis is conducting the window conservation under the supervision of art glass conservator Drew Anderson of New York City. MACC conservators will stabilize and flatten the zinc came, waterproof the windows, and clean both sides of the art glass. Chiral Arts LLC of St. Paul, Minnesota, will repair the window sashes under the supervision of Stuart MacDonald, AIA, of Minneapolis. After the windows are reinstalled in September 2016, Mia will insert climate monitors near the windows with the goal of better stabilizing their environmental conditions in the future.

Purcell, Feick, and Elmslie, architects, Minneapolis and Chicago
Purcell-Cutts House (a.k.a. Edna S. Purcell House), 1913
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bequest of Anson Cutts 90.92

Details of windows in need of conservation, showing broken or missing grout, bowing, and leaking areas.

This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Purcell-Cutts House Tours

The house is open to the public the second weekend of each month. Special tours are given throughout the holiday season.

Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for students and seniors; and free to Mia members and children 12 and under.

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The Purcell-Cutts House is not wheelchair accessible, and stairs located in and around the Purcell-Cutts House may pose navigational difficulties for individuals with limited mobility. However, an extensive online tour of the Purcell-Cutts House is available on the Unified Vision Web site.

For auxiliary services and devices, other accessibility questions, reservations and more information, call (612) 870-3000, or (888) 642-2787 (ext.6323), or stop by any Visitor Services Desks at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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