The Painting Gallery
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Painting Gallery is built as a tomb, its exterior very much resembling that of the Royal Tomb of Philip II in Aigai, Greece. Philip II (382–336 BC) was the king of Macedonia from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC, and father of Alexander the Great. Our guide confirmed the design was, indeed, inspired by Kind Philip’s tomb.
The Sculpture Gallery
While the Painting Gallery was inspired by an ancient Greek Tomb, Johnson looked to modern Greece for the design of his Sculpture Gallery. His inspiration came partly from the Greek islands and their many villages marked by stairways. Johnson remarked that in these villages, “every street is a staircase to somewhere.” He liked it so much that he seriously considered moving his residence from the Glass House to the Sculpture Gallery. But then, he thought again: “Where would I have put the sculpture?”
Lovers on a Bed II, 1970
Plaster, iron bed frame, paint
The Studio, a one-room workspace and library, was referred to by Johnson as an ”event on the landscape”. When first completed, the Studio’s stucco exterior was bright white, but later Johnson painted it a soft brown color, described by colorist Donald Kaufman as ”stone greige.”
This building, constructed of modified gunnite, is the closest to Johnson’s thinking about sculpture and form at the end of his life – what he called the ”structured warp.”
The name of the building is an adaptation of the “monster”, a phrase for the building that resulted from a conversation with architecture critic Herbert Muschamp. Johnson felt the building had the quality of a living thing.
I thought Frank Gehry would have felt at home here.
New Canaan, CT
November 18th, 2018