Allerton bought Lili Auer's Girl with a Scarf at the Chicago Art Institute's annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture, 1941-42, and had a special place prepared for it in the center of the Brick Garden. It was the last piece he acquired for his estate.
An agreeable addition conforming in every way to the aesthetic that Allerton established early in his years of collecting outdoor sculpture, it is graceful and unobtrusive-a rather dreamy sunbather leaning back on a coarse, peagravel-embedded rock, letting a scarf arc round her slim nude body and through her legs. The smooth white silica sand surface of the figure is alive with brightness when sunshine plays on it.
Instead of modeling the work first in plaster or clay as was customary, Auer used an uncommon and difficult technique, first creating the framework for the hollow figure with iron bars and wire mesh (the armature) and then roughly troweling over it a relatively dry mixture composed of cement, fine and coarse crushed rock (aggregate), and water. Care had to be taken to keep the armature from breaking through the surface, or even from being close to the surface, as the iron oxide tends to leach through and stain the sculpture's original clean, clear appearance. Currently, the sculpture is weakened by cracks, and black lichen discolors the surface.
Auer studied at the Woodcarving Trade School and the Academy of Fine Art, Munich, from 1920 to 1930 and exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago ten times between 1933 and 1945.