The renovated, three-story, 38,000-square-foot concrete structure was built in 1924 as an automobile dealership that for many years was called Metropolitan Cadillac, owned by Glenn Humphrey. In more recent times, the Federal Reserve Bank occupied the building until it ceased operation there in 2004.
The Grohmann Museum has a magnificent mosaic floor in its glass entryway. Designed by German artist Hans Dieter Tylle and created by German Gabriel Mayer, the mosaic draws on images from the collection and features five images of men and women at work – a farmer, textile worker, blacksmith, foundry worker and miners – plus some of the implements used in these trades.
The atrium’s ceiling features a 700-square-foot circular mural, The Element of Fire, by Tylle, depicting great thinkers: Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Johannes Gutenberg and Leonardo da Vinci.
The atrium dome features eight commissioned stained-glass works that replicate paintings from the collection. Designed by Tylle and created by Mayer, the windows represent men and women in the roles of rolling miller, hay harvester, blacksmiths, carpenter, cooper, quarryman, working at a river valley iron smelter, and building the Tower of Babel.
Rooftop Sculpture Garden
A dozen large, bronze sculptures – men toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs – perch on the roofline of the Grohmann Museum. These fellows, each about 9 feet tall and weighing in at a thousand pounds a piece, have a commanding view of a city that was built on the hard work they depict.