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Article

Phoebe Cutler

(b Boston, MA, April 27, 1902; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 30, 1978).

American landscape designer and writer. Church was educated at the University of California, Berkeley (1918–23), and at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (1923/4–6) before opening his office in San Francisco in 1932. Most of his work was in residential districts. In San Francisco he was faced with small plots and steep, hillside sites. Here and in the suburban and central valley areas, where he also worked, he confronted the post-war reality of a changing, often intensive use of the garden and a reduced level of maintenance. Whereas Church’s traditional training in the Italian Renaissance and Baroque had presented him with pergolas and fountains, the California lifestyle demanded swimming pools and barbecues. Influenced by the Modern Movement in art and architecture, he visited Alvar Aalto in Finland and the International Exhibition in Paris, both in 1937. Church applied the new ideas of multiple perspective and fluid composition to his practice. Cut on the bias, the Jerd Sullivan garden (...

Article

Cornish  

Keith N. Morgan

American town and former artists’ colony in the state of New Hampshire. Situated on a line of hills near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River c. 160 km north-west of Boston, Cornish looks across to Windsor, VT, and Mt Ascutney. It was settled in 1763 as an agrarian community, but its population was rapidly reduced during the migration to the cities in the second half of the 19th century. From 1885 until around the time of World War I, Cornish was the summer home of a group of influential sculptors, painters, architects, gardeners, and writers. For this coherent group, the Cornish hills symbolized an ideal natural environment that reflected the classical images so important in their work. The sculptor who first spent a summer in Cornish in 1885, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, bought his summer residence there in 1891, and he was soon followed by the painters Henry Oliver Walker (...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

Architecture, design and conceptual art partnership. Diller Scofidio + Renfro [Diller + Scofidio] was formed in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller (b Lodz, Poland, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (b New York, NY, 1935) as an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York.

Diller studied at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York (BArch, 1979) and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Architecture (1981–90) at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, becoming Associate Professor of Architecture at Princeton University in 1990. Scofidio, who also attended Cooper Union (1952–5), obtained his BArch from Columbia University (1960) and became Professor of Architecture at Cooper Union in 1965. In 1997 Charles Renfro joined the firm and was made partner in 2004, at which point the partnership changed its name to Diller Scofidio + Renfro. While the couple (who are married) initially eschewed traditional architectural projects in favor of installations, set design and landscape design, by the 21st century their firm had received commissions for both new buildings and renovations of existing architecture. Diller and Scofidio were the first architects to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (...

Article

(b New York, June 19, 1872; d Bar Harbor, ME, Feb 27, 1959).

American landscape designer. Born into a well connected family, she was introduced to important European gardens by her aunt, Edith Wharton. Farrand studied horticulture with Charles Sprague Sargent (1841–1927) at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, MA, and in 1895 began practising as a landscape designer in New York. In 1899 she became a founder-member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The landscapes of Beatrix Farrand can be seen today with some degree of completeness in only two major gardens: Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC (1922–33), and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden (1926–late 1930s) at The Eyrie, Seal Harbor, on Mount Desert Island, ME. The rest of her designs—around 200 gardens—have disappeared. Remnants of a few are being rediscovered, and with the aid of the documentation she gave to the University of California at Berkeley, it may be possible to restore them. By the 1980s, Farrand had almost been forgotten; however, a symposium at Dumbarton Oaks inspired new research and brought her back into public view....

Article

Robert E. Grese

(b Dybbøl, Denmark, Sept 13, 1860; d Ellison Bay, WI, Oct 1, 1951).

American landscape architect of Danish birth. He began building his reputation as a designer in 1888 when he delighted the Chicago public with his design for the American Garden in Union Park. With it he set the tone for a lifetime of creating natural parks and gardens. During a stormy career with Chicago’s West Parks, Jensen reshaped Union, Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas parks. His work on Columbus Park (1916) is generally regarded as the best of his designs for Chicago’s West Parks System. During the same period he designed numerous residential gardens for the élite of Chicago and across the Midwest. He established close friendships with the architects of the Prairie school and occasionally collaborated with them on projects.

Throughout his career Jensen attempted to relate forms and materials to the surrounding native landscape. Designs were not intended to be copies of nature, but symbolic representations using colour, texture, sunlight and shadow, seasonal change, and careful manipulation of space to evoke a deep emotional response. He saw a value in plants then thought to be common weeds and used them in ecological patterns as found in the wild. His design of ...

Article

Joan Marter

(b New York, Sept 8, 1940).

American environmental artist. Johanson is known for art projects created in the natural landscape that solve environmental problems. She is considered a pioneer in ecological art and has made permanent installations in gardens and parks in the United States and abroad. Johanson was born in New York City, where she was a frequent visitor to parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. She graduated from Bennington College where she studied with sculptor Tony Smith. While at Bennington (1958–62) she also met artists Kenneth Noland, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Philip Guston. In 1964 Johanson completed a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College.

A publishing project offered her the opportunity to catalogue the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, who became her mentor. Johanson’s paintings from the 1960s were Minimalist, as she explored the optical effects of colors. In 1966 she began producing large-scale sculpture, also Minimalist in style. ...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 28, 1877; d Miami, FL, Sept 4, 1954).

American sculptor and educator. A specialist in animal sculpture, Albert Laessle spent most of his life and career in Philadelphia. In 1894, he began attending classes at the Spring Garden Institute and the Drexel Institute before entering the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1900, where he studied with Charles Grafly and Thomas Anschutz. In 1904, with the aid of a traveling scholarship, Laessle went to Paris where he studied under Michel Beguine (1855–1929). Returning to Philadelphia in 1907, he became Grafly’s studio assistant. The two formed a life-long friendship. Laessle provided the animals for several of Grafly’s major public works. Laessle later bought a farm on the outskirts of the city so he could have his own animals to study, and he kept modeling equipment at the Philadelphia Zoo. The recipient of many honors, Laessle’s early style was in the Beaux-Arts tradition, but after 1908 he began experimenting with an expressive, less finished form. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for 20 years (...

Article

Botanical gardens in Kennett Square, c. 50 km south-west of Philadelphia, PA. An Englishman, George Pierce, bought the estate in 1700 and in 1720 built a brick house (now a wing of the present house). From 1800 his descendants, the twin brothers Joshua Pierce (1766–1851) and Samuel Pierce (1766–1836), planted the estate with exotic trees, and the collection grew rapidly, including laurels, copper beeches, yews, European and American horse-chestnuts, Norway spruce, several varieties of magnolia, Japanese ginkgos, empress trees, and hollies, with evergreens predominating. In 1906 the property, known as Pierce’s Park, was bought by Pierre Samuel du Pont (1870–1954) primarily to save the arboretum. Du Pont built the present house and developed the estate, preserving and enhancing the original garden, planting in harmony with the existing scheme. He hired Ferruccio Vitale (1875–1933), a New York-based landscape architect, to design the gardens. Du Pont built the extensive conservatories and in ...

Article

Martin Segger

(b Sapperton, New Westminster, BC, April 11, 1860; d Victoria, BC, Aug 8, 1929).

Canadian architect. He was the son of a British Army Royal Engineer and is reputed to have been the first white child born in the city of New Westminster. He was the foremost domestic architect in British Columbia during the period 1890–1920 and established a building style and form that gave Victoria and parts of Vancouver a distinctive Canadian west-coast flavour. Maclure was a self-taught architect, although he briefly studied painting at the Spring Garden Institute, Philadelphia, PA, in 1884–5. He opened his first practice in New Westminster in 1889 and moved to Victoria in 1892, where he had an office. In 1905 a practice was established in Vancouver in partnership with Cecil Croker Fox (1879–1916), who had trained in London with C. F. A. Voysey. The office closed with Fox’s death at the Front in France in 1916. In 1920 the office reopened under Maclure’s former apprentice, ...

Article

(b Boston, MA, March 26, 1888; d East Hampton, Long Island, NY, Oct 17, 1964).

American painter. He graduated from Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1912 and from 1919 to 1921 attended a course in landscape design at Harvard Graduate School, Cambridge, MA. In September 1921 he arrived in Paris with his family and soon afterwards saw an exhibition at the Galerie Paul Rosenberg of works by Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and Gris, which inspired him to become a painter. Having no prior training, he took lessons with Natal’ya Goncharova until spring 1922. He soon became involved in the flamboyant lifestyle of Paris in the 1920s and his friends included Picasso, Léger, and Igor Stravinsky. By 1924 he was based at the Villa America in Antibes, and from 1923 to 1926 he exhibited annually at the Salon des Indépendants. Murphy’s output was very small and averaged only about two paintings a year during his short painting life from 1922 to 1929, some of which are lost. One of his most impressive early works is the large-scale ...

Article

Joan H. Pachner

(b Los Angeles, CA, Nov 17, 1904; d New York, Dec 30, 1988).

American sculptor and designer. He was the son of an American writer mother and Japanese poet father and was brought up in Japan (1906–18) before being sent to the USA to attend high school in Indiana (1918–22). In 1922 he moved to Connecticut, where he was apprenticed to the sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867–1941). Discouraged by Borglum, Noguchi moved to New York and enrolled to study medicine at Columbia University (1923–5). From 1924 he attended evening classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School; encouraged by the school’s director, he decided to become a sculptor. In addition he frequented avant-garde galleries, including Alfred Stieglitz’s An American Place and the New Art Circle of J. B. Neumann; he was particularly impressed by the Brancusi exhibition at the Brummer Gallery (1926).

In 1927 and 1928 he was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships to visit the Far East, but he went to Paris instead. For six months he worked as ...

Article

Keith N. Morgan

(b New York, Oct 16, 1861; d Cornish, NH, Sept 12, 1933).

American architect, garden designer, etcher, and painter. He was brought up in New York, where he began his artistic training in 1878 at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. The following summer he was introduced to the recently revived art of etching, and he quickly achieved critical recognition for his work in this medium. He continued to etch for most of his life, concentrating on coastal scenes in which he strove to capture the atmospheric interaction of light, air, and water. In May 1882 Platt travelled to Paris to continue his training as a painter, working first independently and then after 1883 at the Académie Julian under Jules Lefebvre. Although he exhibited The Etcher (Boston, MA, St. Botolph’s Club) at the Paris Salon of 1885, Platt eventually rejected his figural training and turned back to his youthful interest in landscape. On his return to New York, he continued to exhibit his paintings and etchings, and in ...

Article

Therese O’Malley

Term given to a regional style of landscape design in America. In 1915, Wilhelm Miller, a professor of Landscape Horticulture at the University of Illinois, defined a new American regional style in an article entitled “The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening.” This seminal article described the work of Ossian Cole Simonds (1855–1931), Jens Jensen and Walter Burley Griffin (see Griffin family) as the main proponents of a Midwestern school that drew upon the Prairie school of architecture epitomized by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Simonds is credited with the innovation of transplanting native plants from the countryside to manmade landscapes as early as 1880, specifically at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. The uses of native species as well as a spatial design in harmony with the regional landscape are cited by Miller as the defining elements of the new style. Simonds, in contrast to previous designers, considered flatness a Midwestern characteristic and a positive attribute, and he employed it to create the long view. Jensen was to build upon the ideas and techniques of Simonds’s work and integrate and publicize them as a theory of design. Although they borrowed forms and techniques for various naturalistic garden traditions, Miller insisted their work constituted a new style because it stressed the local flora of the Midwest and because their practices embraced the theme of the conservation of native scenery....

Article

Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...

Article

Leslie Luebbers

(b Reedley, CA, Nov 25, 1919; d Walnut Creek, CA, Aug 30, 2000).

American landscape architect and educator. Sasaki taught from 1953 to 1970 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (HGSD), where he was chairman of the landscape architecture department from 1958 to 1968. In 1953, Sasaki also opened his design practice, which, after several name changes (including Sasaki, Walker and Associates (1959–63), with former student Peter Walker, and Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay Associates (1963–75), with former student Stuart O. Dawson and architect Kenneth DeMay) and its growth from a handful of recent landscape architecture graduates to an interdisciplinary staff of 300 partners and employees, became (after 1975) simply Sasaki Associates, the firm that carries his name and philosophy throughout the world.

The son of Japanese immigrants who farmed in the San Joaquin Valley, Sasaki grew up with an appreciation of the relationship between nature and human endeavor. After Pearl Harbor and before he completed his city planning degree at the University of California, Berkeley, he was caught in the mass internment of Japanese-Americans. Sasaki earned a BFA in landscape architecture in ...

Article

Kathleen Roy Cummings

American architectural partnership formed in 1906 by Richard E(rnst) Schmidt (b Ebern, W. Germany, 14 Nov 1865; d Winnetka, IL, 17 Oct 1959), Hugh M(ackie) G(ordon) Garden (b Toronto, 9 July 1873; d Chicago, IL, 6 Oct 1961) and Edgar Martin (b Burlington, IO, 26 Feb 1871; d Chicago, IL, 17 Sept 1951). Richard E. Schmidt studied (1883–5) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, before opening a practice in Chicago in 1886. After a brief partnership with T. O. Fraenkel from 1891 to 1895, Schmidt practised alone until 1906.

The early designs in Schmidt’s office continued the restrained, commercial style that Louis Sullivan had introduced in the 1880s and 1890s. The Schoenhofen Brewing Company Building (1902) and the Albert Madlener House (1902), Chicago, especially, were recognized by critics for their geometric massing, careful proportions and skilful effects of brickwork. Perhaps from as early as ...

Article

Janet Marstine

(b Woodstown, NJ, Nov 6, 1876; d New York, May 1, 1953).

American painter, illustrator, designer, playwright, and film director. He studied industrial design at the Spring Garden School in Philadelphia from 1888 to 1890. In 1893 he became an illustrator at the Philadelphia Press. Simultaneously he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he met Robert Henri, John Sloan, William J. Glackens, and George Luks. Their style of urban realism prompted him to depict the bleak aspects of city life. In 1897 Shinn moved to New York and produced illustrations for several newspapers and magazines, for example Mark Twain (March 1900; see Perlman, p. 80), a frontispiece for The Critic. He also drew sketches for a novel by William Dean Howells on New York; although the novel was not published, Shinn’s drawings brought him national recognition.

Shinn’s work changed radically when, on a trip to Paris in 1901, he was inspired by the theatre scenes of Manet, Degas, and Jean-Louis Forain. He began to paint performers in action, from unusual vantage points, as in ...

Article

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 5, 1869; d Bermuda, March 29, 1950).

American landscape architect. A pioneer in her profession, Shipman was called “the dean of American women landscape architects” by House and Garden magazine in 1933. She maintained an office for over 40 years and designed some 600 projects, mainly residential, throughout the USA.

Born Ellen McGowan Biddle in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of Colonel James Biddle and Ellen Rose McGowan, both from prominent American families with considerable wealth. She grew up on Army posts on the far corners of the Western frontier until the age of 18, when her father took a post in Washington, DC. She was educated at finishing schools and enrolled for one year at Radcliffe College (1892–3). She did not stay, instead marrying Louis Shipman, an up-and-coming young playwright, in 1893. The couple soon settled in the arts colony of Cornish , NH, among an extraordinary group of painters, writers, architects, sculptors and patrons associated with the American Renaissance (...

Article

[SAH]

Professional organization devoted to the study of architecture worldwide. Founded in 1940 by a small group of students and teachers attending summer session at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has grown into the leading professional and scholarly organization in the world concerned with various aspects of the built environment. With a membership of around 2700, composed of architectural historians, architects, planners, preservationists, students, and other individuals interested in the subject, as well as nearly 1000 institutions worldwide, it publishes a scholarly periodical, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, whose topics range from antiquity to the present day around the world; a monthly electronic Newsletter; and a multi-volume book series of detailed guides to the architecture of the individual American states, Buildings of the United States (BUS). The Society sponsors an annual meeting, held each year in a different part of the USA or Canada, or occasionally elsewhere, where members present scholarly papers, discuss these papers and other architectural topics, explore the area via a series of tours, and learn of the award of a number of prizes for notable accomplishments in the field, as well as designation of Fellows of the Society for lifetime contributions to architectural history. These include four book awards, the Alice Davis Hitchcock, Spiro Kostof, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall, and Antoinette Forrester Downing, for architecture, the built environment, landscape architecture, and preservation, respectively; the Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award; the Founders’ Award for the best article published in the ...

Article

Robin Karson

(b Rochester, NY, June 7, 1885; d Rochester, NY, July 16, 1971).

American landscape architect. Steele spent his childhood in Pittsford, NY, in the farmhouse that had belonged to his grandparents. Early memories reveal a strong love of nature and an appreciation for landscape values that would guide his future designs. After high school, Steele entered Williams College, where he honed his acerbic wit and also made many close friends, some of whom became important clients. Against his parents’ wishes, he enrolled in the newly formed graduate program of landscape architecture at Harvard University in 1901.

Steele was not impressed by the “old maids” at Harvard, preferring instead Denman Ross, a painter and art theorist with whom he maintained a close personal and intellectual relationship for decades. After one year, he dropped out of the program to take a paid position in the office of Warren H. Manning, who assigned him to supervise development of several large projects. After a three-month grand tour (funded partly by Manning), Steele opened a Boston-based practice in ...