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Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

American organization dedicated to improving the quality of architectural education. Incorporated in 1916 by the architect Lloyd Warren (1867–1922), the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID) was an outgrowth of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects (SBAA; 1894–1942) established by his brother Whitney Warren (1864–1943) with Thomas Hastings and Ernest Flagg who had all studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and were nationally recognized American architects. BAID was dedicated to the improvement of architectural education by providing a centralized location for the distribution and judging of design problems. Architecture schools and private ateliers located throughout the United States developed projects based on the programs created by BAID. The student work was then sent to the headquarters in New York to be judged. An award system of medals and mentions cited the work considered most deserving by the jury of distinguished architects. The award winning projects published in ...

Article

Keith N. Morgan

Founded in 1867, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is the oldest of the three Massachusetts chapters of the American Institute of Architects, established in 1857. Dominated by Edward Clark Cabot as its president for the first three decades, the Boston Society of Architects reflected the nature of the expanding practice in the city at that moment. Opened in the same year as the BSA was the nation’s first academic program in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In addition to the MIT courses, the BSA was soon joined by the first substantial professional journal in the country, The American Architect and Building News, which began publication in Boston in 1876. The Society served as both a professional and a social organization in its early years, allowing members to meet and learn from their fellow practitioners. A parallel organization, open to non-architects as well, was the Architecture Association created in ...

Article

Sandra L. Tatman

American architectural competition held in 1922 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper for its new corporate headquarters. The competition changed American views of European modernism and the course of American Skyscraper architecture. The 1922 Chicago Tribune Competition’s call for competitors attracted more than 260 architects from 23 countries with the offer of a $50,000 prize for the winning design. Although the company may have issued this competition as a way of attracting attention to its newspaper, competitors from around the world, drawn by what was in 1922 an astronomical sum, submitted entries that varied from the very traditional revival styles to cutting edge European modernism. In the end, the winners were Americans John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood (Howells & Hood) with their neo-Gothic skyscraper influenced by the Tour de Beurre in Rouen Cathedral (see Rouen, §IV, 1). However, the second place entry from Saarinen family, §1 of Finland took America by storm, encouraging the architect to immigrate to the United States. In fact, some American architects and critics, such as Louis Sullivan, preferred the Saarinen design to the Howells & Hood tower, and Saarinen’s stepped-back tower with little applied decoration certainly influenced later skyscraper design (...

Article

Paul von Blum

Popular art form, consisting of narrative series of images. The individual framed images are usually accompanied by text in white areas, and the conversations or thoughts of characters are usually in ‘balloons’. The language is associated with specific characters, although some strips are entirely pictorial. The strips are typically horizontal but occasionally vertical. The history of the comic strip is closely linked to the invention of printing. The earliest surviving ancestors of the modern strip, dating from the late 15th century, are sequential German woodcuts dealing with such themes as personal morality, crime, political intrigue, religious persecution, the lives of religious figures, and miraculous events. Similar efforts appeared during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the Netherlands, Italy, and Russia as well as in Germany.

More traditional European art forms are equally important to the development of the comic strip. Major print series by renowned artists, including Jacques Callot, ...

Article

Ralph Hyde

Darkened room (or rooms), with lenses set into the walls, through which the viewer could inspect magnified, brightly lit and minutely delineated pictures placed at the end of a screened black tunnel. The cosmorama was mainly in use in 19th-century Europe and America. The pictures were painted in oils, in an ultra-realistic manner. Some paintings were perforated so as to create the effect of lit windows or a star-spangled sky, or they incorporated transparencies so that sequences of scene transformations could be produced. The paintings were generally of spectacular subjects—far-off cities, storms at sea, dramatic conflagrations, pyramids, great waterfalls or volcanoes. Visits to cosmoramas provided a substitute for arduous foreign travel, and they were often used to divert and educate children.

The first cosmorama was opened in 1808 by the Société des Voyageurs et des Artistes at the Palais-Royal, Paris. The invention reached New York in 1815, while a Cosmorama Room, exhibiting the Paris paintings, was established at 29 St James’s Street, London, in ...

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

Terms applied to painters who had studied at either of the two academies in Germany where numerous American artists sought painting instruction. In the mid-19th century some of America’s most esteemed artists studied at the German art academies in Düsseldorf and Munich. By the end of the 19th century hundreds of American artists in search of the latest artistic styles and techniques were working and training at both academies.

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) between the 1830s and the 1860s. During this time the Kunstakademie was held in high esteem throughout Europe and the USA. Rather bohemian in direction, days were filled with classes in drawing and color and also history and anatomy, with nights devoted to socializing centered around reading and discussion. Directed by the painter Schadow family §(3) and artists following the ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

Article

Peter John Brownlee

Term applied to figural scenes of ordinary people engaged in the activities of everyday life. Though painted only occasionally throughout the Colonial period and early Republic, genre painting flourished in the United States during the 19th century, a period of intense social, cultural, technological and economic change. Throughout this era, genre paintings featured prominently in annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design and the American Art-Union. They were often reproduced in engravings and chromolithographs and circulated widely as gift-book illustrations. Drawing largely on Dutch and British precedents during the first half of the century, genre paintings made in the United States utilized stock characters adapted from popular literature and the theatrical stage. In their heyday and in the early days of their scholarly rediscovery in the 20th century, genre pictures were considered unadulterated expressions of American character. More recently, however, genre scenes have been examined in light of their cultural politics. Genre paintings revel in wordplay and doubled meaning, catch phrases, political slogans and other forms of vernacular expression; aspects that historically predisposed this style of painting to political and ideological inflection in the antebellum period and after. During and following the Civil War (...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

Technique for imitating Asian Lacquer. Once Dutch and Portuguese traders imported lacquer ware from the Far East after 1700, Europeans became fascinated by this technique. Originating in ancient China, it spread to Japan where it is still practiced in the 21st century. The process involved the application of up to a hundred coats of lacquer produced from the sap of the Rhus vernicifera tree, native to China, Malaya, and Japan. Despite attempts to discover the secret, Europeans could not duplicate the process. Since the sap quickly congeals it did not travel well and was toxic like poison ivy.

In 1688 A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing by John Stalker and George Parker explained how to imitate the process by applying shellac dissolved in alcohol over a gessoed surface (see Stalker and Parker). Black was the most common color but red, white, blue, green, yellow, olive brown, and imitation tortoise shell (black streaked with vermillion) were also known. After designs were drawn on the surface, a mixture of red clay or sawdust, whiting, and gum arabic was daubed into the outlines and the raised images were sculpted with engraving tools and then colored with metal dust. A variation called ...

Article

Jill L. Grant

Architectural, urban design and planning movement that began in the USA in the 1980s; by the turn of the century it had become a highly influential alternative to conventional development practices in the USA and beyond.

In the early 1980s a design and planning movement took root in the USA that proponents described either as the “return of the small town” or as the “next form of the American metropolis.” Architect-planners like Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (see Arquitectonica) and Peter Calthorpe advocated and designed compact, mixed-use, walkable and clearly bounded communities as an antidote to ugly and inefficient sprawl. Although new urbanism designers initially favored traditional architectural styles that reflected local vernacular patterns, as the movement’s principles became more widely applied in urban redevelopment projects, building design styles diversified. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, new urbanism principles had influenced government development agendas in several countries and had become widely accepted as good planning principles....

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

Architectural partnership formed in Norfolk, VA, in 1917 by John Kevan Peebles (b Petersburg, VA, 3 Nov 1866; d Norfolk, VA, 31 July 1934) and Finley Forbes Ferguson (b Norfolk, VA, 11 Nov 1875; d Norfolk, VA, 7 Oct 1936). Peebles studied engineering at the University of Virginia (class 1890) and then apprenticed with architects prior to joining James E. R. Carpenter (1867–1932) in a partnership in 1893.They designed the first Jeffersonian Revival building at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, the Fayerweather Gymnasium (1893–4). In an article Peebles critiqued recent designs in the Second Empire and medieval modes and called for a return to the “Classical.” The partnership ended in 1898, and Peebles practiced independently until 1917 participating in the expansion of Jefferson’s Virginia State Capitol, Richmond (1902–6), the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, Norfolk (1907), and many buildings across the state such as the Hotel Monticello, Norfolk (...

Article

Edward A. Chappell

Architectural partnership founded in Boston, MA, in 1922 by William Graves Perry (b Boston, MA, 8 Nov 1883; d Boston, MA, 4 April 1975), Thomas Mott Shaw (1878–1965) and Andrew H. Hepburn (1880–1967). The firm rose to prominence as Colonial Revival architects primarily through their work for John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the historic town of Williamsburg, VA. Both Perry and Hepburn had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By 1927, they had designed New England buildings in a number of historical styles but favored an American neo-classicism reminiscent of Charles Bulfinch.

In 1926, they were hired to produce a conceptual plan for restoration of the 18th- century capital of Virginia, followed by detailed research and design for restoration and reconstruction of dozens of Williamsburg buildings. Investigative work included excavation of old foundations, documentary research and use of early images of lost buildings, most fortuitously a copper engraving plate showing the earliest Capitol, Governor’s Palace and buildings at the College of William and Mary. These they combined with a physical investigation of surviving buildings as a basis for vigorous restoration to an 18th-century state, primarily that of the 1770s. Seeking such architectural purity was counter to British preservation theory cultivated by ...

Article

Henry Adams

Italian family of stonecarvers active in America. At the turn of the century, when the craze for classical architecture was at its height, statues in marble were produced in great quantity for buildings and public spaces. Since the early 19th century, it had been common to separate the design process of creating a model in clay or plaster, and the task of actually carving the marble block. To take advantage of the skills of Italian craftsmen, in the early 19th century many American sculptors established studios in Rome or Florence. By the turn of the century, however, many Italian craftsmen immigrated to the United States in order to work more easily with American sculptors and architects, and to take advantage of the American building boom. Among this group were the Piccirilli brothers, who established the most successful statuary and stone carving business that has ever existed in America. The patriarch of the Piccirilli clan, Giuseppe (...

Article

Kate Wight

An international prize awarded annually for achievements in architecture. It is considered the world’s most celebrated architectural award and has sometimes been referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Architecture.”

Cindy and Jay Pritzker of Chicago founded the prize in 1979. The Pritzker Prize was sponsored and awarded by the Hyatt Foundation, an extension of the Pritzker family business, the Hyatt Corporation, best known for Hyatt Hotels.

The purpose of the Pritzker Prize is “to honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” Rather than awarding an architect for a specific building or design, the award recognized an entire body of work by a particular architect.

The prize consists of an award of $100,000, a formal certificate, and a bronze medallion. Until ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

Saul Zalesch

The Society of American Artists (1877–1906) was the most conspicuous and historically significant of the art organizations that proliferated in New York during the last quarter of the 19th century. It saw itself, and scholars have usually portrayed it, as a liberal challenger to the National Academy of Design . In reality the Society’s birth and operation had little to do with modern conceptions of liberal versus conservative ideals for art but reflected a fundamental American/European split over the way that art progresses and how to educate popular tastes. It was inextricably linked with the interests of members of New York’s traditional cultural elite then defending their leadership against the growing influence bought by the unprecedented wealth of America’s “Robber Barons.”

Although mostly discussed by historians in monographic studies of its more famous members, the Society deserves careful study because the circumstances of its creation, operation, and eventual merger with the National Academy of Design offer richer insights into artists’ attitudes and the complexities of artistic patronage in New York than are usually found in studies of American art of that period....

Article

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Stonecarving throughout American history has been utilized for various purposes: utilitarian work such as paving, roofing and hitching posts; and ornamental work, such as architectural elements, gravestones and monuments, and sculpture. America’s first professional stonecarvers were mainly trained, skilled artisans from England and Scotland. These men were often called “statuaries” because they were capable of producing highly ornamental carving and sculpture, similar to the work of trained academic sculptors. There was little call for such highly decorative work in the colonies, but as urban centers gradually formed, stone masons found plenty of work in newly emerging cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York.

In rural areas many of America’s early stonecarvers were native-born and self-taught. Their skills were most often put to use carving gravestones, which were needed in every community. Both professional and native-born stonecarvers produced beautiful, often idiosyncratic carved work. They worked in the “direct” method of carving, that is carving directly into the stone without creating a preliminary model. Botanist John Bartram designed his own stone house in Philadelphia around ...

Article

Peter L. Laurence

Although the theory and practice of renovating cities is ancient, and although the term is still used to refer to similar practices today, “urban renewal” typically refers to the large-scale, federally funded redevelopment projects that took place in US cities in the 1950s and 1960s. Such projects wrought dramatic physical transformations and caused controversial social upheaval. Urban renewal in this sense came into being with the US Housing Act of 1954, although it evolved out of a history of government-funded slum clearance and housing project construction dating back to the 1930s. Following two decades of slum clearance and model housing projects including First Houses (1935), Williamsburg Houses (1937) and Stuyvesant Town (1947), all in New York, the US Housing Act of 1949 was signed into law with broad political support due to a national postwar housing shortage. As the immediate legislative predecessor of urban renewal legislation, the Housing Act of ...