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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

Eleanor M. McPeck

(b Lancaster, MA, Dec 16, 1814; d Hinsdale, IL, Dec 5, 1900).

American landscape architect and writer. He was a descendant of Moses Cleveland, who came from Ipswich, England, in 1635, and his father, Richard Jaffry Cleveland, was a sea captain. Cleveland gained early agricultural experience in Cuba while his father served as Vice-Consul in Havana. On his return to the USA after 1833, Horace studied civil engineering in Illinois and Maine, settled afterwards on a farm near Burlington, NJ, and became corresponding secretary of the New Jersey Horticultural Society. In 1854 he moved with his family to the vicinity of Boston, spending three years in Salem and ten years in Danvers. During this early phase of his career he formed a partnership with Robert Morris Copeland (1830–74), a landscape architect of Lexington, MA, and designed several rural cemeteries near Boston, including Oak Grove (1854) in Gloucester, MA, and the celebrated Sleepy Hollow (1855) in Concord, MA. In ...

Article

Patrick A. Snadon

(b New York, July 24, 1803; d Orange, NJ, Jan 14, 1892).

American architect. From the 1830s to the 1850s he was one of the most influential architects in the USA. His work ranges from major government and institutional buildings to ornamental garden structures; his main contribution to American architecture was his introduction of the European Picturesque in his designs for Italianate and Gothic Revival country houses and cottages. With his partner, Ithiel Town, he also refined and popularized the American Greek Revival. He revolutionized American architectural drawing through rendering buildings in romantic landscapes rather than in the analytical, Neo-classical style that preceded him. In 1836 he helped form the American Institution of Architects and advanced professionalism in American architecture through his scrupulous office practices, being, for example, the first American architect to use printed, standardized specifications.

At the age of 16, Davis left school in New York to work as a type compositor in Alexandria, VA. During this time, probably influenced by reading contemporary Gothic novels, he made drawings of prison and castle interiors akin to Piranesi’s engravings of imaginary prisons. In ...

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

Arthur Channing Downs

(b Newburgh, NY, Oct 31, 1815; d Hudson River, NY, July 28, 1852).

American writer, horticulturist, landscape gardener and architect. From the age of seven he was trained in the family nursery garden by his elder brother Charles Downing (1802–85), an experimental horticulturist. Before he was 15, Downing came under the influence of André Parmentier (1780–1830), a Dutch-trained landscape gardener, and he studied the 700-acre estate that Parmentier had landscaped in the English manner at Hyde Park, NY. Downing was also influenced by the mineralogist Baron Alois von Lederer (1773–1842) and the landscape painter Raphael Hoyle (1804–38). In 1834 Downing’s first article, ‘Ornamental Trees’, appeared in journals in Boston, MA, and France. His article ‘The Fitness of Different Styles of Architecture for Country Residences’ (1836) was the first important discussion of the topic in America. He expressed enthusiasm for a variety of styles and insisted they must be used in appropriate settings. His ...

Article

Keith N. Morgan

(b Cambridge, MA, Nov 1, 1859; d Brookline, MA, March 25, 1897).

American landscape architect, regional planner and writer. He was the son of Charles W. Eliot, the influential reforming president of Harvard College (1869–1909). He inherited much of his father’s broad vision and organizational talent, and he applied these to his interest in landscape preservation.

After completing his basic studies at Harvard in 1882, Eliot decided to attend courses in botany and horticulture at Harvard’s Bussey Institute as preparation for a career in landscape architecture. However, in 1883 he was offered an apprenticeship with Frederick Law Olmsted sr, the foremost landscape architect in the USA; he remained with Olmsted until 1885, during which time the office developed plans for several important projects, notably the Boston municipal park system and the Arnold Arboretum, Boston. He then completed his courses at the Bussey Institute, after which he toured abroad for a year, inspecting parks, gardens and natural landscapes from England to Italy and Russia....

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b London, 1728; d Annapolis, MD, 1804),

American silversmith and clockmaker. He was primarily a merchant, but his workshop produced a small number of pieces that can now be identified. His diary is concerned in large part with his passion for gardening, but is also a valuable resource for the American silver trade in the late 18th century....

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

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

Robin Karson

(b Reading, MA, Nov 6, 1860; d Waltham, MA, Feb 5, 1938).

American landscape architect and planner. Manning spent his childhood in the rural countryside north of Boston and from an early age assisted in the nursery founded by his well-known father Jacob, who also took him on plant-collecting excursions in the wild. In time Manning acquired wide knowledge of both native and exotic plants, and he also became interested in landscape design, advertising his services through his father’s nursery. In 1888 he left the family business and took a position as planting supervisor in the Brookline, MA, office of Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot.

Working alongside Frederick Law Olmsted, John Charles Olmsted and Charles Eliot, Manning learned to apply his vast horticultural repertory to a Romantic style of landscape design that combined aspects of the British Picturesque with an American appreciation for bold scenic effects and attention to the genius loci. He also learned the rudiments of sophisticated data-gathering techniques developed by Eliot during work on the Boston park system. Manning’s most important projects with the Olmsted firm included the Boston parks, the installation of plants at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition (...

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

Richard L. Dagenhart

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 14, 1869; d Feb 18, 1937).

American landscape architect and city planner. Nolen was raised in the Girard School for Orphaned Boys in Philadelphia, graduating first in his class and later graduating with his BPhil from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1893. After several years working with the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching, Nolen moved to Cambridge, MA, to enroll in Harvard’s newly established School of Landscape Architecture, studying under Frederick Law Olmsted and receiving his MA in 1905. After establishing his office in Cambridge, he and his associates began a practice of landscape architecture but soon expanded their work to include city planning. By 1919, Nolen had written two books, edited two additional books and published numerous articles on the emerging field of city planning. Nolen’s firm completed more than 350 landscape architecture and city planning commissions before his death in 1937. He served as president of the National Conference on City Planning and was one of the founders of the American Institute of City Planners. Nolen was instrumental in establishing city planning education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and other universities. Along with the Olmsted Brothers and a small cadre of others, Nolen transformed American city planning from the early years of the ...

Article

Charles E. Beveridge

(b Hartford, CT, April 26, 1822; d Waverly, MA, Aug 22, 1903).

American landscape designer, urban planner, and writer. Influenced by 18th-century English traditions of landscape design and by his own social beliefs in the importance of community and the civilizing role of aesthetic taste, Olmsted undertook a large number of public and private commissions. His commissions ranged from regional plans and scenic reservations to residential communities, academic campuses, and the grounds of private estates. With his partner Calvert Vaux and later independently, he designed a series of city parks systems between 1858 and 1895 in which landscaped parks were integrated with other public spaces through broad interconnecting thoroughfares, or parkways, which incorporated drives, paths, and areas of turf and trees. His major work includes Central Park (1858–77), New York, and the ‘Emerald Necklace’ series of public spaces in Boston (1880s). He believed in the power of landscaped scenery to exercise a restorative and civilizing influence.

Olmsted’s forebears helped to found Hartford in ...

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 ...