The Palace of Fine Arts  was the  the only permanent building built on the  Exposition grounds. Located on 60 feet above the general level on Art Hill, the imposing  edifice stood directly south of the Terrace of States.  Designed by Cass Gilbert*- a famous New York architect  who designed the United States Supreme Court building, as with the Palace of Fine Arts,  he often used the Beaux Arts style to  reflect the optimistic American sense that the nation was the heir of Greek democracy, Roman law and Renaissance humanism. For the Palace, Gilbert was heavily inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy. The fire-proof palace consisted of  two temporary wings of brick decorated in ornate staff. The main structure  was constructed out of  Bedford (or Salem),  stone, the highest quality limestone in the  United States. Like  all limestone, it is a rock primarily formed of calcium carbonate. The stone help fire-proof the build's art treasures as well as increase security from theft. In the open area  at the rear of the main building and between the wings was the sculpture  pavilion. 

In composition,  the Palace  is a tall nave, fronted by a Corinthian portico, above which  gives abundant light for the interior.  On each side of the main entrance are seated figures, one representing Sculpture, executed by Daniel Chester French, and the other representing Painting and executed by Louis Saint Gaudens. Above the main portico are six figures symbolizing the six great periods of art, as follows: Egyptian Art, by Albert Yaegers; Classic Art, by F. E. Elwell; Gothic Art, by John Gelert; Oriental Art, by Henry Linder; Renaissance Art, by Carl Tefft; Modern Art, by C. F. Hanann. The figure, "Inspiration," crowning the building, above the main entrance, was executed by Andrew O'Connor. Two bronze griffins, which are effectively used as ornamentations on either end of the main pediment at its base, were executed by A. Phimister Proctor. Near each end of the front of the Central Building, in niches, were two seated figures, representing "Truth," by Chas. Grafly, and "Nature," by Philip Martiny.. The last five named figures are gilded, a golden note which is repeated at intervals on all the structures and decorations of Art Hill.

In the frieze of the main building were placed twenty medallions in stone, containing portraits of the great architects, painters and sculptors,  executed by George T. Brewster and O. Piccirilli. The intermediate figures surrounding the base of the building  were replicas from the antique. The East and the West Pavilions, giving, with the Central Building, a total length on the front of eight hundred and thirty feet, and extending back four hundred and fifty feet, enclose a Quadrangle in which is located the fourth building of the group, the International Sculpture Court, which was built, like the East and West Pavilions, of brick ornamented with staff. This court is one hundred and fifty feet long by one hundred feet wide, its plan being rectangular with an exedra or semi-circular bay at the east and west ends. In architecture it was lighter and more decorative than the main buildings, with motives from the Italian Renaissance. The enclosed space was laid out as a garden, where fountains, growing plants and shrubbery were introduced. Here is suggested, beside the close relation between the allied arts of sculpture and architecture, the relation of art to nature.

The three-story Palace of Fine Arts  was the only one of the massive exposition buildings 
open at night. 

On four nights a week, the American Section of the  Palace was open until 10pm.

Inside, the Palace was   constructed so that large crowds may move about through its galleries without danger of congestion; the arrangement of the art work differed from previous Expositions, in that all the exhibits are installed on the ground floor, there were no stairs to climb. 134  sky-lighted galleries were placed in the 5.2 acre palace.  The galleries were set up to  display oil  paintings  with ceiling light  that shone through  cathedral glass. Corridors were  flanked by alcoves that held exhibits of architectural and sculptural ornament.

The walls of the galleries were covered with burlap and brocaded 
cloth of jute fibre. The colors used were such as to give the best 
background for each style of painting. In order to obviate the danger 
of fire, the cloth was immersed in a fire-proof fiuid.

 Several sections are composed entirely of works which have been produced since the Chicago Exposition of 1893. 

As the Fair was situated in the heart of America, thirty-two galleries of the main building were given over to American painting and industrial art. The collection was divided into three groups:  contemporary  (works produced within the past twelve years),  retrospective (pictures painted between the year 1803, (the time of the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory), and Chicago's  Columbian Exposition in 1893),  and on   loaned masterworks from American public and private galleries.

​There  was a general station on the  Intramural Railway in the rear of the building. 

Foreign sculptors were exclusively  given a  separate sculpture pavilion for  their works. 
Many  marble and bronze figures  are  to be found on the galleries of the building and in the central  garden. Nineteen galleries of the west wing contained French paintings, inlaid furniture, wrought metal and other art work.

The south end of the Palace housed  five large rooms with side lighting for showcasing priceless Japanese prints,  carved gems, embroideries, enamel work and wrought metal. 

Besides exhibits from  Belgium, Italy, Spain, Russia, Holland,Sweden, Canada and Australia,  Cuba and the Argentine Republic, the  largest collections in the east wing were from Great Britain and Germany.  In all these exhibits the pictures were divided into
contemporary and retrospective work. The walls of the galleries  are covered with burlap and brocaded cloth of jute fibre, all immersed in a fire-proof fluid.  Fire hydrants
were prevalent inside and out of the palace.

Though in previous expositions, there was a definite separation between "fine  and industrial arts," the Louisiana Purchase  Exposition committee admitted all aesthetic  or utilitarian entries and were over whelmed by the response. All space for display  was  limited, each nation was compelled to send only the bet  of its artistic product. All in all,  over 11,000 works were presented in the palace.

The  foreign collections of paintings were arranged so that the visitor  could study them in relation to the  national art of and character of the American people, including the results of European influence and culture.  Though American artwork had always held a back seat to European, the collection of works from the Fair's home country was deemed very high indeed. 

The exhibit of paintings in the United States Section demonstrated the fact made plain at the Paris Exposition, and cordially acknowledged there, that we have a distinctive national art and  like American literature, is eclectic.  This exhibition was most comprehensive, including American artists living abroad, as well as an equal representation from the different sections of this country.

The exhibition of the British Section was representative of the art work of Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland during the last decade. The Art Committee, made up of the presidents of the various art societies of the United Kingdom, gives assurance that the exhibition is national in its scope, including the three great painters, Millais, Leighton and Burne-Jones, who have died during the last decade—with others of world-wide reputation, are represented here. In sculpture,  an exhibit that showed the influence of such artists as William Morris and Walter Crane—the largest exhibition of its kind which England has made at any exposition. The British exhibit, occupied fourteen rooms, showcased a theme familiar with the Fair's outlook, hence they had a sizeable exhibit of  Pre-Raphelite and Neo-Classical painters oils as:  Sir J. E. Millais' `Chill October,'  Lord Federick Leighton's `Persus and Pegasus with the Head of Medusa,' and Sir Edward Burne-Jones' `The Dream of Lancelot at the Chapel of the San Grael,'  were extremely well-received.

The French nation was the largest and most important one that thas ever sent out of its own country. Among works in the French Section representing the older masters of that school were those of Carolus Duran, Bouguereau, Henner, Detaille, Flameng, Puvis de Chavannes, Robert Fleury, and L'hermitte. 

The Holland  collection was  mainly  made up of oil paintings, water colors, etchings and engravings, with an ample  sculptural  presence Prominent on the walls were the works of Israels, Jacob and Willem Maris, Mesdag, and Blommers.  In applied art was  shown work in pottery, wood, silver, and copper. In the east pavilion, the works of Dutch artists occupied nine rooms

Art in Austria was   organized in four great national societies. Besides the exhibits of the two Austrian societies, including such artists as Hugo Charlemont, Alois Schram and Karl Pippich, there are those of the Bohemian and Polish artists, each displayed distinctive national traits. Owing to the lack of space which it was poss1ble to assign to Austria, only a portion of these collections was placed in the Art Palace, the remainder being installed in their National Pavilion.

The German Section was a larger and more comprehensive exhibit  than  any previous exposition in this country. Lenbach, lately deceased, Germany's most famous portrait painter, was represented by five notable portraits.  Adolf von Menzel, Paul Meyerheim, the historical painter von Werner, Franz von Defregger, Ludwig Knaus. Leibl, Loefftz, Schuster-Waldau, Keller, Langhammer, with many others, made this collection representative of modern German art. Noted historical paintings were lent from the public galleries of Germany. The sculptors Reinhold Begas, Peter Breuer, A. Bruett, Heinrich Epler, Ernst Freese, E. Hundrieser, Erich Hoesel and many others contributed to a large sculptural exhibit, which included many figures of heroic size.

In the Hungarian Section,  works of the foremost artists of their national school were shown. While the list does not include all the most noted names in Hungarian art, those who were displayed  maintained the high national standard. Munkacsky was represented by typical scenes from Hungarian peasant life. L. Paal, one of Hungary's best landscape artists, and K. Lotz, portrait painter and noted fresco artist, were among the well known names. 

The exhibit in the Belgian Section represented the art activity of the last decade, all the paintings having been produced during that time. In the sculpture, which is installed both in the Art Palace, and the galleries of the Sculpture Pavilion. Frans Courtens, Leempoels, Heymans, Verhaert, and Gilsoul are among the noted names in Belgian art, and were represented here by important works in figure and landscape.

The paintings in the Bulgarian Section were characterized by strong and sympathetic interpretation of the national life. Among the noted artists here represented were A. Mitoff and J. V. Mrkvitchka; with a sculpture exhibit comprising statues, busts, and bronze medallions.

The Italian section was entirely  made up of   modern art, most of the painting and sculptures had been produced since the Chicago Exposition. The late decision of the Italian Government to participate prevented the execution of works specially for the  Exposition.  Among the noted names in this exhibition were G. Previati, A. Rizzi, A. Ball 'Oca Bianca and C. Laurenti.

The exhibit of Portugal wa shown in one gallery, painting and sculpture being grouped together. Among the more prominent artists of Portugal were Salgado and Columbano, represented here mainly by portraits, and Jose de Brito.

Japan  displayed cloisonné, art lacquer, enamels, sculpture and paintings. There were noted examples of the old school of landscape art, the traditions of which are the glory of Japan. The foremost bronze casters of the country are here represented by masterpieces. The sculptural exhibit  included worked carved in  ivory, wood, and terra cotta, and showed groups and figures illustrative of scenes in Japanese life. There were also oil paintings done by younger artists in the European method. The leaders in the school of landscape art which was so pronounced a feature of this exhibition were Gaho Hashimoto, Kwampo Araki, Keinen Imao, and Giokusho Kawabata.

The impression made by the Swedish pictures showcased the  patriotism of  Sweden.  Among the artists in the exhibition best known in this country were Zorn, Liljefors, and Carl Larsson.

Artwork was  divided into six general classes:

Painting-  on canvas, wood, metal or plaster, and by all direct methods and all media (no prints, lithos,
   Mediums  included-  oil and tempera  painting, drawings and cartoons in water color, pastel
                    and crayon,
   pyrographic designs and miniatures painted on ivory.

Etchings-  including  engravings and autolithographs in pencil, crayon or brush.

Sculpture- which  includes figures and bas-reliefs in marble, bronze, terra cotta,  ivory, etc.

Architecture-  which included  drawings, photographs and models of completed buildings,  signs of
                    architectural details
    and mosaics, leaded and stained glass.

Loan collection- which included  works of art of any description, selected from public or private galleries.

Industrial Art-   included  pottery, porcelain, metal work that does not come under the head of sculpture,   artistic leather      work, carved wood, book bindings and woven fabrics.

Russia was represented by a collection of over six hundred works of art, consisting mainly of paintings.  Ten different art societies were represented, and included paintings of such well-known members of the Imperial Academy of Arts as:  Repin, Vladimir and Alexander Makofsky, Dubofsky, Kasatkine, Volkoff, Soukherofsky, Kosheleff, Venig, Verestchagin, Maimon, and von Liebhardt. In  addition,there was independent collections illustrative of "Ancient Russia," "The Ural and its Riches" and "Siberia," which had (at that time),  never before been displayed outside of Russia. 

The works of art exhibited in the Argentine Section were by painters and sculptors who have studied in France and Italy. They   impressed fairgoers one with its individuality, sense of harmony and purity of style. Among the artists whose works were represented: Eduardo Sivori, Ernesto' de la Carcova, Eduardo Schiaffino, Pio Collivadino, Carlos Ripamonte, Cesarep de Quiros, Correa Morales, Irurtia, Dresco, Alonso, Artigue, Giudici, Garcia and Diana Dampt.

The exhibits in the Brazilian Galleries were mostly paintings, and showcased  landscapes and in figure portray the life and atmosphere of the country.  Among the artists represented were Aurelio de Figueiredo, B. Calixto, P. Weingartner, M. Brocos, in etchings, and others of equal note. The art interests of Brazil were fostered by a School of Fine Arts, which offers scholarships, sending  artists to European art centers for study.  An interesting exhibit of applied art in this section was composed of original designs and pottery by E. Visconti.

Mexico had an exhibit of paintings which in figure and landscape gives glimpses of the life of the country, the most notable feature of the exhibit being the collection of paintings by Antonio Fabres.

Cuba, which for the first time exhibited as a nation at an international Exposition, showed a collection of oil paintings, engravings and lithographs. Prominent in the collection were the works of Aurelio Melero and Leopoldo Romanach.

Art in Canada was of comparatively recent growth, and the present exhibition is under the direction of the Royal Canadian Academy. The works in the Canadian galleries were entirely pictorial, and were the work of Canadian artists who  studied in the art centers of Europe, and returned home to paint. Many of them have exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, where they won honorable mention.

The International Section were made up from the works of artists of countries not officially represented by national commissions or committees. Among them were works by Norwegian, Danish, Peruvian and Swiss artists, and an exhibit from Ceylon and China of paintings and works of applied art.

One of the highlight's was Whistler's  `Rosa Corder.' 

Another highlight was the first  of the   21 casts authorized by  Rodin of one of the most known sculptures in the world-  `The Thinker.'  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, also loaned a plaster cast of François-Auguste-René Rodin's masterpiece for the Fair. 

The New York state exhibit  contained  almost  every New York painter of individuality and ability--in oil,
water-color and miniature work, including the masterpiece works of Frederick Church.  

The famous Tiffany & Company was on display at the Fair.  The works of Louis Comfort Tiffany  included a sterling silver Renaissance-inspired vegetable dish, a dragonfly brooch, a brooch of leaves and berries, and an ivory tusk inkstand which bears the "fleur-de-lis" mark,  significance to the Art Nouveau movement. 

St. Louis' artist were also proudly showcased, Noted St. Louis painter- Edmund Wuerpel displayed  four paintings, and Frederick O. Sylvester  exhibited his known oil-  `The Bridge.'  A small bust of a baby, by Bessie Potter Vonnoh,  was the only female artist from St. Louis to exhibit in the Palace of Fine Arts.

Unusual for its rime, Fair organizers included photographs alongside more traditional mediums  in the Palace of Fine Arts. Many of the photographers showcased during the Fair were members of the Pictorialist movement, distinguished by its use of soft-focus lenses and painterly effects.

The art work  installed at the Palace of Fine Arts  was supervised by Professor Halsey C. Ives, who promised  that the `art considerations of quality will take precedence over those of quantity.'   He also stated that- 'All art work', whether on canvas, in marble, plaster, wood, metal, glass, porcelain, textile or other material- in the creation of which the artist-producer had worked with conviction and knowledge, are recognized as equally deserving of respect in proportion as it is worthy from the standpoints of inspiration and technique.'

Ives, who was employed  as an art  professor  at Washington University in St Louis,  was a trained artist and military draughtsman. He had also been the head of the art department at the Chicago Exposition.

Fair President David R. Francis stated-   'St. Louis did more (than Chicago); it set a standard of American performance in art that, while it was a surprise to foreign connoisseurs, will mark an epoch of progress of the world.'

Ives wanted to  include decorative arts in the Art Palace, but because of space, most of the  examples were moved to the Palace of Liberal Arts. Photography and reproductive printmaking were also moved to the Liberal Arts Palace.

The Austro-Hungarian contingent entered so late that most of its reserved space had been given away. They planned an entry featuring the work of Gustav Klimt,  but the Austrian Ministry of Education objected to singling out one  artist. As a result, Austrian artists boycotted the exhibition

*  On March 31, 1905,  Gilbert was awarded 6,454.60 dollars  for unpaid wages from the working  dates of-  June 25, 1901, to April 27, 1904.  He originally sued for 47,113.96 dollars, but the courts saw that he was already paid a 21,000 dollar fee, a 10,000 honorarium, as well as travelling expenses. 

The main building of the Palace of Fine Arts is now the St. Louis Art Museum. 

American Artists included: 

AH Wyant, Cecelia Beaux, Charles Melville Dewey, Charles H Niehaus, Charles Sprague Pearce, DW Tyron, Eastman Johnson, Frederick Church, Gari Melchers, George Grey Barnard, George H Bogart, George Inness, Homer Martin, Horatio Walker, Irving R Wiles, J Carroll Beckwith, J Francis Murphy, J McNeil Whistler, JH Twachtman, John S Sargent, John W Alexander, Jules Stewart, Kenyon Cox, Paul W. Bartlett, R Swayne Gifford, RP Bringhurst, Saint-Gaudens, Solon H Borglum, TW Dewing, Walter McEwan, William Chase, William Low, Wilton Lockwood, Winslow Homer. 

Foreign Artists included:

Adolph von Wenzel, Alfred Sisley, Anton von Werner, Arthur Kampf, Bastert, Begas, Bernard Hoppe, Briton Riviere, Carlo Ferrari, Chatering, Claude Monet, Defregger, Forti, Frans A Langeveld, Franz von Lenbach, Fritz August Kaulbach, Fritz Heinemann, Georg Luehring, Guillaume Seignac, Gysis, Hans von Bartels, Hashimoto Gaho, Hendrik W Mesdag, Hoesel, Hubert Vos, JE Millais, Jose Escudero y Esperonceda, Josef Israels, K Nahagara, Kato Tomotaro, Keller, L'hermitte, Louis WV Soest, Lord Leighton, Lucien Pissarro, Lucius Simon, M Kobajashi, M Schwarze, Manjiro Takito, Mastenbrook, Maxime Manfra, Menzel, Miyagawa Kozan, Peter Brewer, Peter Janssen, Ruggero Forcardi, Scheuernburg, Schillot, Shirataki, Sir Edward Burns-Jones, Wilen Maris, Witsent, WQ Orchardson. 

Palace of Fine Arts with some digital coloring.
One of Cass Gilbert's designs for the Fine Arts Palace. 
a small section of the Palace of Fine Art sculpture exhibit
Lee  Gaskins'  AT THE FAIR  The 1904 St. Louis World's   Fair  
                     Web  Design and Art/Illustration   copyrighted  2008 
East Pavillion
West Pavillion
Sculpture  Pavillion
A corner of one of the  galleries.
One of the  galleries including  a Frieze. 
A rare original interior  shot  of the Palace.