The 1933-1934 Century of Progress Homes

On our Freakin’,’Tiquen 2017 vacation, we visited the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to see five examples of the Century of Progress homes from the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair.

Century of Progress Historic District

After the fair closed, several of the exhibit houses were purchased by Robert Bartlett. His intention was to keep them as perpetual exhibits and to intrest potential buyers in his development, Beverly Shores. Two of the houses were transported to the site by truck; the others were floated by barge from the fair site to the Indiana shore.

Moving the Wieboldt-Rostone House image form Library of Congress

The five houses are:

Cypress Log Cabin

The Cypress Log Cabin

The Cypress Log Cabin

 

House of Tomorrow

America’s First Glass House

The House of Tomorrow – currently under restoration

Armco-Ferro House

The Armco-Ferro House

The Armco-Ferro House

Florida Tropical House

The Florida Tropical House

The Florida Tropical House

Wieboldt-Rostone House

The Wieboldt-Rostone House

The Wieboldt-Rostone House

Access to the park where the houses are located is free. Be aware of frequent and sometimes hidden STOP signs. Parking is limited but there is 15 minute parking available in front of the houses.

A Century of Progress

Today, the houses are leased by the Park Service to private tenants. The houses are undergoing a complete restoration to return them to their 1933 appearance. Tours are given once a year in October and reservations are required. For information about park hours and tour information, click HERE.

Anthony & Chris (The Freakin’, ‘Tiquen Guys)

 

A Visit to the Cooper Hewitt Museum

The Jazz Age exhibition now at the Cooper Hewitt.

The Jazz Age American Style in the 1920’s at the Cooper Hewitt Museum until August 20, 2017. Poster for the exhibit on the fence outside the museum grounds.

 

One of the current exhibits at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, The Jazz Age, American Style in the 1920s, is a must see for any lover of Art Deco. The Cooper Hewitt, a division of the Smithsonian is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design. The Cooper Hewitt’s home is in the former Andrew Carnegie mansion at 5th Avenue and 91st Street, New York City. Completed in 1903 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, the Cooper Hewitt opened there in 1976.

 

The Cooper Hewitt Museum and Garden.

The Cooper Hewitt Museum and garden. Image from cooperhewitt.org

 

The entrance to the Jazz Exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museuem

The Jazz Age Exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York City.

 

The Jazz Age is an exhibition in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Encompassing all aspects of mid-1920’s through mid-1930’s modern design from furniture, to clothing to jewelry to art the exhibit is so large that it takes up two floors of the Cooper Hewitt. Going up the main staircase to the exhibit there are two large panels of wall covering from the Ziegfeld Theatre (1927-1966).

 

 

Ziegfeld Theatre interior.

The interior of the Ziegfeld Theatre, showing a portion of Joseph Urban’s mural The Joy of Life. Image from Pinterest.

The panels are oil on canvas and are on loan from the collection of Richard H. Driehaus. Period photographs do not justice to the mural, it comes to life when seen in color. When entering the exhibit proper there is a remarkable mirror, lamp and console table.

 

Collection of items from the Rose Iron Works, 1930.

Rose Iron Works mirror, console table and lamp, circa, 1930. On loan to the Cooper Hewitt from the Rose Iron Works Collection. Rose Iron Works, Cleveland, Ohio.

1930 Rose Iron Works mirror.

Paul Fehèr designed mirror for the Rose Iron Works, 1930.

Rose Iron Works console table.

Console table made by the Rose Iron Works in 1930. Designed by Paul Fehèr. Because of the Depression the table went unsold.

Paul Kiss Studio lamp from the late 1920s.

Paul Kiss Studio lamp circa, 1927. Purchased by the Rose Iron Works for inspiration when they began creating items in modern design.

 

Glass

Throughout the exhibit one can see many of the finest examples of glass produced in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Here are some examples that caught our eye.

 

Daum Frères glass vase, circa 1925 -1 930.

French vase produced by Daum Frères, circa 1925 – 1930. Using animals as a decorative motif was popular in the Art Deco era. And especially popular was the leaping gazelle such as the one seen on this cased glass vase. This vase is on loan from the Dallas Museum of Art.

The Gazelle Bowl (Steuben Glass, Inc.,  1935) designed by Sidney Waugh is prominently displayed on the second floor of the exhibit. This is one of the most iconic pieces of glass to come out of the era between the World Wars.

The Gazelle Bowl.

Steuben Glass’ Gazelle Bowl, 1935. Designed by Sidney Waugh.

 

The 1926 vase Tourbillons (Whirlwinds) designed by Suzanne Lalique went into production by René Lalique. Created through mass production pressing and hand-carving and accented with black enamel, it was a new look and technique in decorative glass. It was one of the French objects in Lord and Taylor’s  1928 Exposition of Modern French Decorative Art. One of the earliest shows in the United States of the new decorative style.

Tourbillons Vase, Lalique.

Tourbillons (Whirlwinds) Vase, 1926. Designed by Suzanne Lalique and put into production by René Lalique. Part of the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

 

Another classic Lalique vase on display is the Beauvais Vase of 1931. Designed by Suzanne Lalique, like Tourbillons. It is part of the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Beauvais Vase, 1931.

Suzanne Lalique’s Beauvais Vase of 1931. Put into production by René Lalique. Part of the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

Two Walter Dorwin Teague designs for Steuben Glass made it into the exhibit. Teague hired on a one year contract to Steuben to make it the finest glass company in America. Using the then current Scandinavian trend of pale or colorless glass, one his designs was a spherical bowl. The bowl dates from 1932.

 

Teague bowl for Steuben, 1932.

Steuben Glass bowl designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, 1932. In the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

Teague's Lens bowl for Steuben Glass.

Walter Dorwin Teague’s Lens Bowl for Steuben Glass, 1932. Part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Teague derived his inspiration for the lens bowl from the glass lenses the Corning Glass Works produced from railroad signals and locomotive lights. Most of the glass Teague designed for Steuben ended production in 1933 when his contract with the company expired.

 

Ruba Rombic display sign, 1928.

Ruba Rombic an Epic in Modern Art

 

In an enclosed case there are several pieces of this very rare glass. Designed by Reuben Haley for the Consolidated Glass Company, his inspiration came from items he had seen at the 1925 Paris Exposition. When debuted at the 1928 Pittsburgh Glass Fair one trade journal wrote:

“it is the craziest thing ever brought out in glassware . . . The first reaction is all but shock, yet the more pieces are studied, the more they appeal and there comes a realization that with all their distorted appearance they have a balance that is perfect and are true specimens of cubist art.”

Ruba Rombic was only in production for a few years. Due to the depression, Consolidated closed its doors in 1932. When they reopened in 1936 Ruba Rombic would no longer be part of their line. The cubism of the glassware, so avant-garde in the late 1920’s would have looked very dated by 1936 as streamlining became the popular new design form.

 

Jungle Green 10 inch Ruba Rombic Vase.

Ruba Rombic 10 inch vase in Jungle Green. Product Design and Decorative Arts collection – Cooper Hewitt.

 

Ruba Rombic Toilet Bottle in Smokey Topaz.

Toilet Bottle in Smokey Topaz. Ruba Rombic was available in eight standard colors. Smokey Topaz and Jungle Green are the colors most commonly found. This bottle is part of the Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts collection.

 

Ruba Rombic Jade 7 inch vase.

7 inch vase in Jade (cased glass). Cased glass Ruba Rombic has a higher value than the clear colors of Jungle Green and Smokey Topaz. Product Design and Decorative Arts collection – Cooper Hewitt.

 

Furniture

So many iconic pieces of furniture were on display that it is hard to pick just a few for this post. But here are a few of our favorites –

 

Barcelona Chair

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Chair MR 90 (Barcelona chair) by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1929.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair (Model MR 90) of 1929. Manufactured by the Berliner Metallgewerbe in 1930. On loan from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

This chair is often thought of as a Mid-Century Modern design. In actuality, van der Rohe created it in 1929 for the German Pavilion at the International Exposition, Barcelona, Spain. The chair so forward in its design that it is still in production to this day.

 

Marcel Breuer’s B3 (Wassily) Chair

Marcel Breuer's Wassily or B3 Chair.

Marcel Breuer’s B3 Chair, better known as the Wassily chair. Designed in 1925 and manufactured in 1927, it was one of the first pieces of furniture to use tubular chrome steel. Tubular steel became a very popular modern furniture material during the interwar years. This chair is part of the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt.

 

Lounge, LC4

Designed by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Periand &

Pierre Jeanneret

Lounge, LC4 1928

Designed in 1928, the LC in the name stands for “long chair”. The lounge follows the human form. The LC4 is on loan from the Brooklyn Museum.

 

Corner Cabinet, ca. 1923

Jacques Ruhlmann

Early Deco cabinet. 1923

Corner Cabinet designed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. Kingwood veneer on mahogany with ivory inlay. This piece is on loan from the Brooklyn Museum.

 

A corner cabinet designed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann in 1923 for the residence of A. Weitz of Lyon, France. Two years later Ruhlmann was one of the principal designers exhibiting at the 1925 Paris Exposition. His designs were a great influence at the start of the Art Deco era.

 

Skyscraper Bookcase Desk

Paul T. Frankl, ca. 1928

Frankl’s “Skyscraper” line of furniture captured the optimism and exuberance of the United States in the late 1920’s. The bookcase desk is quintessential of this line and how it mimics the setback look of then current construction trends.

1928 Skyscraper bookcase desk.

Paul Frankl bookcase desk from his “Skyscraper” furniture line. On loan from the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

 

Donald Deskey

Table, ca. 1928

Donald Deskey table.

Donald Deskey table for the Ypsilanti Reed Furniture Company and Deskey-Vollmer, ca. 1928. Part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department of the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

This table is a good example of Donald Deskey’s use of mixed media combining chrome with wood and a painted abstract detail.

 

K.E.M. Weber

Sideboard and Chair, 1928-29

 

K.E.M. Weber group.

Sideboard and chair designed by K.E.M. Weber in 1928. Green painted wood and faux leather. On loan from The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Los Angeles based industrial designer, architect and artist created this set in the late 1920’s. Pieces from this group can be seen in several films such as King of Jazz (Universal, 1930) and Trouble in Paradise (Paramount, 1932).

 

Airline Chair, 1934

Airline Chair by K.E.M. Weber, 1934.

1934 Airline Chair by K.E.M. Weber. Part of Cooper Hewitt’s Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

 

One of the first assemble yourself pieces of furniture, K.E.M. Weber’s Airline Chair of 1934 is an iconic piece of streamline style furniture from the mid-1930’s. For more on Weber and this chair, check out this article by Ben Marks and Lisa Hix from Collector’s Weekly.

 

These are only a very few of the iconic Art Deco items in this amazing exhibit. If you like 20th Century design this is a don’t miss show. The exhibit runs through August 20th at the Cooper Hewitt Museum before moving to The Cleveland Museum of Art. In Cleveland land it will run from September 20, 2017 through January 14, 2018.

 

Anthony & Chris (The Freakin’, Tiquen’ Guys)

 

If you enjoyed this post check out this earlier one:

Walter Dorwin Teague Treasures at the Dallas Museum of Art

Reference Library Update – Heinz Exhibit Brochure, 1939 New York World’s Fair

Heinz Exhibit Brochure

Cover of the Heinz Exhibit Brochure.

For this reference library update we have scanned a brochure from the Heinz Exhibit. One of the more popular exhibits at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, it was famous for their give away of pickle pins.

 

 

Heinz Pickle Pin.

Heinz Pickle Pin given away at their 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair exhibit. Image from Wolfsonian.org

Heinz Dome, 1940.

The Heinz Dome in 1940. In the second season of the fair the Goddess of Perfection moved from inside to the roof of the dome. Image from 1939nyworldsfair.com

To see the entire brochure, click on the cover above.

Anthony & Chris

35 Years of Collecting Art Deco

May, 2017 marks the 35th year since I actively started collecting Art Deco items. Normally, I wouldn’t write a biographical post, but this is a something of a milestone. Looking back it seems I have always been collecting something and always drawn to things of the past. As a little boy I had Matchbox cars (what boy in the 1960’s didn’t).

Some Matchbox cars that I had in the 1960’s

 

But because I liked old cars better my parents started to get my the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear. Below are some of my favorites.

 

 

But the one I like the best was this one –

Packard, 1930

1930 Packard Victoria

 

At the time it was the only Model of Yesteryear of a car from the 1930’s. So, as you can tell by reading this, by six years old my interest in the time period between the World Wars had started.

 

Coins

 

As the 1970’s started, so did my coin collecting. I never had a spectacular collection, but it did help earn me my sole Boy Scout merit badge. One of the requirements for the merit badge is to compile a set of coins from the year of your birth. This is normally a pretty easy task. In 1963 the mint still produced silver coins, by 1975 they were long out of circulation. Finding these coins proved a bit of a challenge for an 11 year-old.

 

 

I stopped collecting coins soon after I earned my merit badge. But before I started on my next big obsession, a book came into my life that would consciously and unconsciously influence my collecting interests to this day. I had already started collecting 1939 New York World’s Fair memorabilia by the mid-1970’s. My interest in the fair came from all the stories my family told about attending it. And with my general interest in the 1930’s I received as a gift the book Collecting Nostalgia by John Mebane (1972, Popular Library).

 

Collecting Nostalgia, 1972.

The paperback edition of Collecting Nostalgia by John Mebane, 1972. Image from Amazon.com

Coca-Cola

This book had chapters on furniture, lamps, Mickey Mouse, World’s Fair & Buck Rogers collectibles. In 1975 this was the book that every 11 year-old boy dreamed about . . . not! But I liked it and it had a chapter on Coca-Cola. And it sparked my six year collecting quest of Coke memorabilia. I started off small, I picked up a 1944 Coca-Cola bottle at the Englishtown Auction (a very large flea market in Englishtown, NJ) for 25 cents.

 

My first Coca-Cola collectible.

The bottle that started it all. This variation of the famous 6 ounce Coca-Cola bottle was in production from 1938 – 1951. 1944 is the molding date stamped on this bottle.

 

It wasn’t long after buying that first bottle that the collection started to build. Soon I was buying anything I could afford that had Coca-Cola on it. Cans and bottles from different countries, paper goods, pencils, pocket knives, cardboard cut outs, well you get the idea. And my family often bought items for me that were out of my 11 – 16 year old price range, such as early straight sided bottles, trays and a really nice 1930’s ice cooler, the type that would be in front of a store or gas station.

 

Westinghouse Junior Ice Chest

Westinghouse, Junior Coca-Cola ice chest. Circa late 1930’s. This is like the model I had but in much nicer condition. I sold mine over 30 years ago. I still miss it. Image from Pinterest.

By 1979 my bedroom looked like a shrine for Coca-Cola. Beside the cooler taking up a corner of the room there were shelves with bottles, cans and glasses. Covering the walls were serving trays, signs and a large, illuminated clock, that made sleeping difficult, until the florescent light burned out.

Things go better with Coke clock.

1964 “Things go better with Coke” illuminated clock. Image from Pinterest.

 

 

While I have sold most of my Coca-Cola memorabilia, I have held onto the serving trays, they always go up in value. And if I come across any trays or early straight sided bottles at a good price, I can’t resist and I buy them. Old collecting habits die hard.

As the 1970’s turned into the 1980’s and my Coca-Cola collecting started to slow, my mother grew tired of seeing my Coke “museum”. Plus my bedroom needed a decoration update. It was 1973 when my parents decided on a decor for my bedroom. With the United States Bi-centennial only three years away everything went red, white and blue and colonial drums and eagles and my bedroom was no exception.

1982 from Coca-Cola to Art Deco

Not too far from where I lived I would go to Trash or Treasure, an antique store loaded with stuff and not neatly displayed. One needed to hunt around to find the treasure, but it was there, hiding. And one day in May of 1982, my mom noticed a pair of half circle, blue mirror end tables. Many years later I noticed December 21, 1939 stamped on the bottom. Blue glass tables would be popular for all of the 1940’s. They are considered Deco, even though that era came to an end by 1941. This would be the start of my Art Deco collection. $75.00 ($190.00 in 2017 money) was the price for the tables. They were in pretty good shape, but not perfect. But my mom saw this as a way out of the Coca-Cola museum and the now very dated Bi-centennial decor. She suggested I could turn the room into a little living room where I could entertain friends and watch old movies. The idea appealed to me, so we purchased the tables and in came the Deco and out went the Coke.

The half round end table that started the collection in 1982.

One of the two half round end tables that started the collection. In August of 1982 is when I bought the reproduction airplane lamp. Photo from 2017 in my present TV room.

 

The airplane lamp is a late 1970’s reproduction that used the original mold. I became familiar with that lamp, thanks to the Collecting Nostalgia book. Another early Deco purchase was a late 1930’s lucite table lamp with original shade. The shade had condition issues so I had the frame recovered with a similar fabric in the late 1980’s.

 

My late 1930's lucite lamp.

This is another early Art Deco purchase that has always been in use since I bought it in 1982 at the long gone Route 1 Flea Market in New Brunswick, NJ. I had the frame of the original shade recovered in the late 1980’s because of the tears. Photo taken in 2017.

The original 1982 room

 

The above photos taken with Kodak 110 Pocket Instamatic do not justice to the actual color of the room. The walls were a dove gray, with a wall paper border of light gray and white in a a pseudo 1980’s Deco pattern and the window blinds in a very pale gray. I had yet to learn how colorful the Art Deco period was.

 

As a celebration of my 35th anniversary of collecting Art Deco, my friends and I went to the Cooper Hewitt Museum in Manhattan for their exhibition – The Jazz Age American Style in the 1920’s.

The Jazz Age at the Cooper Hewitt.

The Cooper Hewitt’s exhibition The Jazz Age. It runs through August 20, 2017.

 

This exhibition is wonderful and has on exhibition items I’ve only seen in books or on line. If you happen to be in New York City and love Art Deco don’t miss this show.

 

Me at the Cooper Hewitt.

2017, me at 53 enjoying The Jazz Age exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. I had to have my picture taken next to my favorite Art Deco glassware, Ruba Rombic.

 

Anthony (One half of the Freakin’, Tiquen Guys).