The House Stalker

Stalking the Gehry Residence, that unique structure that looks like it sprung out of a cubist painting, which Frank Gehry designed himself and built around an existing suburban Dutch Colonial house.

I only wish I could have seen the interior but then I wouldn’t have been a stalker, I would have been an acquaintance or a friend of the family. Wouldn’t that be something!

The Gehry Residence, Santa Monica

July 17, 2017

Sunset Boulevard Dreamin’

The unforgettable feeling of driving down Sunset Boulevard; Rodeo Drive; Santa Monica Boulevard. Strip after strip, mile after mile like a movie unfolding in front of you and you are part of the magic and have to keep pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.

See that long white colonnade building with the radio tower? That’s the old Warner Brothers Studio, now known as the Sunset Bronson Studios. And that’s where the first ever talkie was filmed in 1927, The Jazz Singer.

And now, Netflix, recently moved to their newly built Icon Tower next door, also signed a 10-year lease for the use of several sound stages at the studio.

That magical structure just off Rodeo Drive? It’s the Gaudi inspired, Art Nouveau loving O’Neill House aka The Mushroom.

Next time you see me, please don’t wake me up. Let me keep on dreaming.

July 16th, 2017


Credits in sequence:

Blue Jasper Plaque with Apollo and the Muses, ca. 1778-80
Manufactured by Wedgwood and Bentley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
The Huntington Gardens
Geometric Hearth Rug, ca. 1800
Attributed to Mary Peters Hewins
Quilts made between 1850-1896
Drunkard’s Path Quilt, ca. 1880-90
(the large red square one with the yellow pattern)
Pair of Pockets, ca. 1775
Because most American women’s clothing in the 18th century lacked fixed pockets, detachable pockets such as these were tied around the waist and worn either over a dress or under an overskirt. They were worn both singly and in pairs. It is extremely unusual for a pair such as this to survive intact. I urgently need two pairs!
Helen E. Hatch
Folk Art Crazy Quilt, 1885

The Huntington

July 16th, 2017

Straight Windsor Lines & Shaker Oval Boxes

1/ & 2/
Windsor Armchairs & Settee, mid 18th century

Decorated Boxes
Used to store everything from grains, spices and dried fruits to combs, sewing accessories, jewelry, tobacco and documents, these boxes were often decorated as gifts.

Oval Shaker Boxes, ca. 1840-60

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing became more commonly known as ”Shakers” because of their ”ecstatic and violent bodily agitation” in worship. A Christian sect founded in 1747 in Manchester, England they emigrated to America to avoid persecution. Their first settlement was in New Lebanon, New York and eventually eighteen other communities were established, reaching a total number of 5.000 devotees during the decade preceding the Civil War.

Though men and women lived separately in Shaker communities, they believed in gender equality; they also believed in celibacy, common property and the second coming of Christ.

The Shakers were hard working, excellent farmers and equally great artisans who embraced new technologies and used them to create fine furniture, tools, equipment and artifacts, guided by the principles of simplicity, utility and honesty.

Perhaps the best known of these artifacts are their distinctive oval storage boxes secured with swallowtail ”fingers” or laps. Oval box making began in the 1790s at the New Lebanon, New York, community (the Shakers’ spiritual centre) as one of the first Shaker industries, and survived well into the 20th century. While boxes were produced for use by the Shakers themselves, the vast majority were sold to outsiders, becoming one of the Shakers’ most profitable commercial products.

Little did the first settlers know that, two hundred years later, their simple, honest designs would be admired by art enthusiasts as museum pieces!

Sargent Claude Johnson, 1888-1967
Untitled (screen for pipe organ)

The Huntington

July 16th, 2017

Blue Note

Carrington (Portrait of a Girl in a Blue Jersey), 1912 by Mark Gertler (1891-1939)
Oil and tempera on canvas

Though begun in tempera, this portrait was finished in oils, a more forgiving medium. The switch may have been made from necessity: Gertler often admonished his sitter, fellow art student and object of his unrequited love, Dora Carrington, for her habit of rarely sitting still.

Bathers (Bath Houses), 1950 by George Tooker (1920-2011)
Egg tempera on gessoed board

Tooker used egg tempera, a medium popular among Renaissance painters which underwent a revival in the 1930s and 1940s, to capture exacting details.

The Long Leg, ca. 1930 by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
Oil on canvas

The Long Leg depicts a sailboat near the Long Point Light at Provincetown, Massachusetts, at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The boat sails in a zigzag series of short )and long tacks, or legs. Although the painting portrays a scene of leisure, no people are  visible on the boat or the landscape. Despite (or, perhaps, because of) this absence, this is my all time favourite of all of Hopper’s brilliant works.

The Huntington

July 16th, 2017