The Guest House at Field Farm

Home away from home

A Bauhaus-inspired house designed by Edwin Goodell, Jr. in 1948 for Lawrence and Eleanor Bloedel, avid modern art and furniture collectors of the time, it still is adorned by original artwork inside and out. But the best feature of this most remarkable Bed & Breakfast, is the tranquility it exudes: the gardens with a pond, the walking trails through pastures, a forest, the unobstructed views of Mt. Greylock in the background, everything about it seems to have been designed for calmness, a state of mind that anyone living in Midtown Manhattan so desperately seeks!

The Guest House, Williamstown, MA

August 31st, 2019

Lyndhurst Mansion

An even better shelter (this time from the inevitable -and welcome- downpour/relief from the heat). Gothic Revival at its finest, a mansion worthy of its notable owners: William Paulding Jr., a New York City Mayor; George Merritt, a wealthy businessman; and Wall Street tycoon Jay Gould who updated some of the interior décor by commissioning furniture from the Herter Brothers, windows from Louis Comfort Tiffany, and paintings from the Knoedler Gallery. Thankfully, they still remain intact, and most of the furnishings on view are original.

Josef Scheurenberg, The Confidante, 1880, oil on canvas

Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown

Designed in 1838 by architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

July 18th, 2019

Providence || The Rhode Island State House

Sitting atop Smith Hill, overlooking downtown Providence, a grant building of white George marble, in inverse proportion to the size of the State it was built to serve. Designed by the New York firm of McKim, Mead and White and constructed between 1895 and 1904, it is crowned with the fourth largest self supporting dome in the world, behind only that of St. Peter’s in Vatican City, the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

The Senate Chamber, home to the 38 members of the Senate; it’s design was influenced by the Pantheon in Rome.

”Hope” is the official state motto of Rhode Island, inspired by the biblical phrase “hope we have as an anchor of the soul.” This little flag made it to the Moon and back.

Thomas Wilson Dorr, 1805-1854
”The People’s Governor”, thanks to whom Rhode Island adopted a state constitution.

This is the Gettysburg gun from the First R.I. Light Artillery, damaged during the battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 with a cannonball still stuck in the barrel.

The Royal Charter of 1663 granted by King Charles II of England, on July 8, 1663, resides safely in a custom steel  vault. The Charter guaranteed Rhode Island settlers complete religious liberty, established a self-governing colony with local autonomy and strengthened Rhode Island’s territorial claims. The most liberal charter of any colony, it served as Rhode Island’s basic law until the adoption of the state’s first constitution, which came into effect on May 2, 1843.

The Rhode Island State House, Providence

November 23rd, 2018

Portland Museum of Art || The McLellan House

Last, but not least:

A federal-style three-story mansion, completed in 1801 for Major Hugh McLellan, at a cost of $20,000. Purchased in 1880 by Lorenzo De Medici Sweat, it was bequeathed to the Portland Society of Art (now Portland Museum of Art), in 1908 by Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat, in memory of her late husband. It was completely restored to its original condition and its wonderful interior can be visited as part of the Portland Museum of Art.

Do not leave the Museum without seeing this splendid piece of history of Portland, Maine.

Art

Endless Column, 2013
Justin Richel (U.S., b. 1979)

Large Vase with Nude Women, 1950
Pablo Picasso

Garden Figure, 1935
Gaston Lachaise (U.S. (born France), 1882-1935)

Portland, ME

November 21st, 2018

The Glass House

“In the case of the Glass House, the stylistic approach is perfectly clear. Mies van der Rohe and I had discussed how you could build a glass house and each of us built one. Mies’ was, of course, primary and mine was an adoption from the master, although it’s quite a different approach. In my case, there were a lot of historical influences at work. The Glass House stylistically is a mixture of Mies van der Rohe, Malevich, the Parthenon, the English garden, the whole Romantic Movement, the asymmetry of the 19th century. In other words, all these things are mixed up in it but basically it is the last of the modern, in the sense of the historic way we treat modern architecture today, the simple cube.” – Philip Johnson, 1991

And so it was that Johnson’s famed masterpiece came to be. But it’s not just the house: a Studio, a Painting Gallery, a Sculpture Gallery, Da Monsta, a Brick House and a Pavillion in the Pond complete the picture.

But first things first:

The Gate

A standalone structure with no fence, so anyone can just walk by. Still, quite impressive in size and mechanics, with the bar sliding up to let our shuttle bus enter, and down again behind it. It was a sailboat boom in a previous life.

The Brick House

In contrast to the diaphanous Glass House, it was conceived as a guest house offering total privacy – light pours in from skylights and the only windows were placed at the rear.

The Glass House

Although there are no walls separating them, Philip Johnson referred to areas within the space as “rooms.” So we have the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and an entrance area – their limits defined by furniture or objects.

And, yes, it gets really hot when the sun shines. In order to avoid suffocation from the greenhouse effect, Johnson had special modular wooden panels placed on the glass ones for shade; they would be moved according to the hour of day or season.

The painting in the ”living room” is ”Burial of Phocion” ca. 1648-49, by Nicolas Poussin. It was selected specifically for the house by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the first director of the Museum of Modern Art.

The only really private room is the bathroom enclosed in a rounded brick structure that holds the fireplace on the other side.

View to the Pavillion in the Pond and the Monument to Lincoln Kirstein, 1985 – a 30 feet high tower, which Johnson frequently climbed, describing it “a staircase to nowhere.”

The Grounds

Artwork by Donald Judd, Untitled (1971).
Concrete
Rear view of the Brick House and its round windows.

Let’s take a breath here because, next, we’ll take a look at the art.

The Glass House

New Canaan, CT

November 18th, 2018