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James Deering & John Singer Sargent

James Deering (1859 – September 1925) was an industrialist executive in the family Deering Harvester Company and subsequent International Harvester, a socialite, and an antiquities collector. He is known for his landmark Vizcaya estate, where he was an early 20th-century resident on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove district of Miami, Florida. Begun in 1910, with architecture and gardens in a Mediterranean Revival style, Vizcaya was his passionate endeavor with artist Paul Chalfin, and his winter home from 1916 to his death in 1925.

James Deering was born in 1859 in the western Maine town of South Paris, Maine. He was the son of William Deering and his second wife, Clara Hammond Deering. His older half-brother was the arts patron Charles Deering.

His father, who had inherited the family Woolen Mill and was landowner in the Northeast, invested in a farm equipment manufacturing company, renaming it the Deering Harvester Company. In 1873 he moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. New 'Deering Harvester Company' reaper machinery enabled Midwestern United States farmers to harvest an acre of grain per hour, a substantial increase in productivity that increased the profitability of Mid-West agriculture significantly. The Deering Harvester Company grew in value, so that by the end of the nineteenth century the Deerings had become one of America's wealthiest families, although his father William was conservative in family spending. His parents did acquire a residence in St. Augustine, Florida for the winter season. James Deering's older brother, Charles Deering, joined the family business in the 1880s, after attending the United States Naval Academy and nine years in the Navy. James Deering attended one year each at Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before also joining the company at the same time.


©Elisa. Vizcaya
James Deering (1859–1925) was an industrialist executive in the family Deering Harvester Company and subsequent International Harvester, a socialite, and an antiquities collector. He is known for his landmark Vizcaya estate, where he was an early 20th-century resident on Biscayne Bay. Begun in 1910, with architecture and gardens in a Mediterranean Revival style, Vizcaya was his passionate endeavor with artist Paul Chalfin, and his winter home from 1916 to his death in 1925.



Portrait of James Deering by John Singer Sargent Inscribed: to Mr James Deering from his friend John S. Sargent, Miami 1917 http://www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/James_Deering.html#Pic


John Singer Sargent (also discretely gay), painted clothed women and naked men, was an intimate friend of James Deering. While staying at Vizcaya, Sargent painted a series of watercolors of male nudes, using the African-American workers on the premises as models. James Deering, a life-long bachelor, is speculated by many to have had a relationship with Sargent, as well. (http://gayinfluence.blogspot.it/2012/01/james-deerings-vizcaya.html)


Photo of Phineas Paist with possibly James Deering, seated 1905-07 Jpg: Michael Turbeville (http://jssgallery.org/Essay/Vizcaya/Deering.html#Pic)


"Charles Deering at Brickell Point, Miami", seated full length portrait by John Singer Sargent, 1917


Paul Thek, Untitled (Peter Hujar and Joe Raffael in the Deering boathouse ruins), 1956, Digital enlargement, 2013, 10.75 x 10.75 in., Collection of Peter Harvey, L2013.10.51
Peter Hujar and Joe Raffael visited Paul Thek and Peter Harvey in Florida in 1956. Harvey was working when the three others decided to visit the Deering estate, Villa Vizcaya, in Miami’s Dade County. They entered the unrestored boat house and, handing the camera back and forth among themselves, produced this series of images never before publicly exhibited. Peter Harvey notes that even in 1956, they knew James Deering, who built Villa Vizcaya, was queer and that the estate was therefore historically gay ground. These photographs anticipate Hujar’s developing interest in abandoned sites, such as the series done in conjunction with David Wojnarowicz in New Jersey in the 1980s. (http://www.leslielohman.org/exhibitions/2013/paul-thek-and-his-circle-3.html)



Vizcaya by Elisa Rolle


Vizcaya by Elisa Rolle


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Vizcaya by Elisa Rolle

James joined the Deering Harvester Company in 1880 as treasurer. In 1902, with the Bank of J.P. Morgan purchasing Deering Harvester Company and McCormick Reaper Company, a resulting merger formed the International Harvester corporation and the largest producer of agricultural machinery in the nation. James Deering became vice-president of the new corporation, responsible for the three Illinois manufacturing plants. In 1909 he was phased out of daily company affairs by J.P. Morgan interests.

By the turn of the century, James Deering owned homes on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, in the countryside near Evanston, Illinois, and in New York City, and in Paris, France. His name appeared in social columns as an arts connoisseur, socialite, international traveler and cultural ambassador. He hosted events for French dignitaries at his New York and Chicago residences. In 1906, for Deering's work in promoting agricultural technology development in France, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur ("National Order of the Legion of Honour").

He retired from the vice-presidency of International Harvester, his health was weakening due to pernicious anemia, so in 1910 Deering purchased land in Coconut Grove, south of Miami and north of his brother's Charles Deering Estate. James Deering and Paul Chalfin then partnered to travel and create 'Vizcaya' there. James Deering never married.

James Deering built Villa Vizcaya between 1914 and 1922 with visionary mastermind of the project, designer Paul Chalfin, his collaborator companion. The architect was F. Burrall Hoffman Jr.. The estate's landscape master plan and formal gardens were designed by Colombian landscape designer Diego Suarez. Paul Chalfin had attended Harvard, trained as a painter at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and was an associate of renowned decorator Elsie de Wolfe. She introduced Chalfin to Deering for the interiors of his Chicago home in 1910. In 1910 Chalfin and Deering traveled through Europe together for the first trip of many over the years, in part to collect ideas and begin acquiring art, antiquities, and furnishings for the new Florida estate. The culmination of their shared effort and lasting memorial to their creative relationship is Vizcaya, the Miami, Florida estate created between 1914 and 1923.

The Villa Vizcaya is distinguished for its Italian Renaissance inspired Mediterranean Revival architecture, its huge Italian Renaissance revival gardens, and sumptuously designed, detailed, and executed interior architectural elements with European, Asian, and American furnishings, and art and antiquities that span two millennia. The numerous sculptures in the gardens and villa are of ancient Greek, Greco-Roman, and Italian Renaissance origins and styles.

For example, one element is altar-like in white marble, featuring the carved heads of goats, cows, and lions, and flanked by coral stone pillars with carving of the 'Oak Tree of Gernika,' symbolizing the freedom of the Basque Vizcaya in Spain.

The gardens are notable for introducing classical Italian and French design aesthetics into a subtropical habitat's plant palette and context — a new approach. This resulted in ongoing garden experiments with many tropical plants new to American horticulture. While Vizcaya's landscape design style evokes other periods and places, the use of native stone, plants, and light modulation reflected Deering's desire to showcase the indigenous natural beauty. By 1922, the 180-acre (0.73 km2) estate included large lagoons and new islands down-coast south of the villa and its formal gardens.

On the estate's western acreage, across present day South Miami Avenue, were the produce gardens and grazing fields. A Village compound was designed and built to the west also. These endeavors were done with the intent of making Vizcaya primarily self-sufficient, modeled on European estates to compensate the limited commodities and services of early 1920s Miami. The Village buildings housed the property's staff quarters, auto garages, equipment sheds, and workshops, and also barns for the domesticated animals.

Deering spent winters here beginning in 1916, when the residence was sufficiently complete. Among James Deering's closest friends were painter Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. Through his brother Charles, also a patron of the arts and collector, he had friendships with the painters John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn. Sargent visited Vizcaya in March 1917 and produced a series of watercolors of the estate, as well as portrait of James. After the extensive gardens were completed in 1923, Deering's health began to weaken. Nonetheless he traveled and entertained guests, including the silent film stars Lillian Gish and Marion Davies. Deering was described in his later years as "a reticent man with impeccably proper manners, leavened by a sense of humor." He was not like a 'Jay Gatsby' figure of the 'Roaring Twenties' era. In 1923 he opened the gardens to the public on Sundays, and Deering reportedly watched the visitors from his balcony, curious about who came but not wanting to be recognized for his hospitality. In this period's personal letters, he expressed the hope that his nieces and nephews would enjoy coming to Vizcaya, so tennis courts, a bowling alley and billiard room, and a swimming pool were part of the estate to encourage their visits.

James Deering died in September 1925, on board the steamship SS City of Paris en route back to the United States. The philanthropic beneficiaries of his estate were Wesley Hospital, founded by his father in Chicago; the Visiting Nurse Association; the Children's Hospital of Chicago; and the Art Institute of Chicago which received several significant paintings: the Édouard Manet "Mocking of Christ," and three by Italian master Giambattista Tiepolo of Rinaldo and Armida, based on scenes from the 16th-century epic Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso.

Following the death of Charles Deering, Villa Vizcaya passed to his two nieces, Marion Deering McCormick and Barbara Deering Danielson. Over the decades, after hurricanes and rising maintenance costs, they began selling the estate's surrounding land parcels. In 1952, at a below-market price, they sold the villa and formal gardens, and in 1955 the village 'core estate' to Miami-Dade County for a museum and gardens to be open to the public. With the initial sale they donated the antiquities and furnishings to the County-Museum.

Unlike many other historic house museums, Vizcaya contains the original antiques and furnishings, giving continuity to experience Deering's era. His brother Charles Deering's nearby estate, now named 'The Deering Estate at Cutler', is also open to the public and owned by Miami-Dade County but without art and furnishings. James Deering's estate, now named Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, is an accredited museum and National Historic Landmark. The villa, gardens, and village are under ongoing restoration. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens mission is "to preserve Vizcaya to engage our community and its visitors in learning through the arts, history, and the environment."

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Deering

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida. (Picture: Self Portrait, 1906, oil on canvas, 70 x 53 cm, Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

An American expatriate who was trained in Paris prior to moving to London, Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, though not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his Portrait of Madame X was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the Grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air.

Before Sargent's birth, his father FitzWilliam (b. 1820 Gloucester, Massachusetts) was an eye surgeon at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia 1844-1854. After John's older sister died at the age of two, his mother Mary (née Singer) suffered a breakdown, and the couple decided to go abroad to recover. They remained nomadic expatriates for the rest of their lives. Though based in Paris, Sargent's parents moved regularly with the seasons to the sea and the mountain resorts in France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. While Mary was pregnant, they stopped in Florence, Italy because of a cholera epidemic. Sargent was born there in 1856. A year later, his sister Mary was born. After her birth, FitzWilliam reluctantly resigned his post in Philadelphia and accepted his wife's entreaties to remain abroad. They lived modestly on a small inheritance and savings, living a quiet life with their children. They generally avoided society and other Americans except for friends in the art world. Four more children were born abroad, of whom only two lived past childhood.


Thomas E. McKeller
John Singer Sargent was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury.His male nudes reveal complex and well-considered artistic sensibilities about the male physique and male sensuality; this can be particularly observed in his portrait of Thomas E. McKeller (an African American elevator operator he befriended), but also in Tommies Bathing, nude sketches for Hell and Judgement, and his portraits of young men. Sargent scholars accept an affair with Louise Burkhardt, the model for Lady with the Rose.




Lady with the Rose (1882) Metropolitan Museum of Art





Though his father was a patient teacher of basic subjects, young Sargent was a rambunctious child, more interested in outdoor activities than his studies. As his father wrote home, "He is quite a close observer of animated nature." His mother was quite convinced that traveling around Europe, and visiting museums and churches, would give young Sargent a satisfactory education. Several attempts to have him formally schooled failed, owing mostly to their itinerant life. Sargent's mother was a fine amateur artist and his father was a skilled medical illustrator. Early on, she gave him sketchbooks and encouraged drawing excursions. Young Sargent worked with care on his drawings, and he enthusiastically copied images from The Illustrated London News of ships and made detailed sketches of landscapes. FitzWilliam had hoped that his son's interest in ships and the sea might lead him toward a naval career.

At thirteen, his mother reported that John "sketches quite nicely, & has a remarkably quick and correct eye. If we could afford to give him really good lessons, he would soon be quite a little artist." At age thirteen, he received some watercolor lessons from Carl Welsch, a German landscape painter. Though his education was far from complete, Sargent grew up to be a highly literate and cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art, music, and literature. He was fluent in French, Italian, and German. At seventeen, Sargent was described as "willful, curious, determined and strong" (after his mother) yet shy, generous, and modest (after his father). He was well-acquainted with many of the great masters from first hand observation, as he wrote in 1874, "I have learned in Venice to admire Tintoretto immensely and to consider him perhaps second only to Michelangelo and Titian."

An attempt to study at the Academy of Florence failed as the school was re-organizing at the time, so after returning to Paris from Florence, Sargent began his art studies with Carolus-Duran. The young French portrait artist, who had a meteoric rise, was noted for his bold technique and modern teaching methods, and his influence would be pivotal to Sargent during the period from 1874-1878.

In 1874, on the first attempt, Sargent passed the rigorous exam required to gain admission to the École des Beaux-Arts, the premier art school in France. He took drawing classes, which included anatomy and perspective, and gained a silver prize. He also spent much time in self-study, drawing in museums and painting in a studio he shared with James Carroll Beckwith. He became both a valuable friend and Sargent's primary connection with the American artists abroad. Sargent also took some lessons from Léon Bonnat.

Carolus-Duran's atelier was progressive, dispensing with the traditional academic approach, which required careful drawing and underpainting, in favor of the alla prima method of working directly on the canvas with a loaded brush, derived from Diego Velázquez. It was an approach that relied on the proper placement of tones of paint. This approach also permitted spontaneous flourishes of color not bound to an under-drawing. It was markedly different from the traditional atelier of Jean Léon Gérôme, where Americans Thomas Eakins and Julian Alden Weir had studied.

Sargent was the star student in short order. Weir met Sargent in 1874 and noted that Sargent was "one of the most talented fellows I have ever come across; his drawings are like the old masters, and his color is equally fine." Sargent's excellent command of French and his superior talent made him both popular and admired. Through his friendship with Paul César Helleu, Sargent would meet giants of the art world, including Degas, Rodin, Monet, and Whistler.

Sargent's early enthusiasm was for landscapes, not portraiture, as evidenced by his voluminous sketches full of mountains, seascapes, and buildings. Carolus-Duran's expertise in portraiture finally influenced Sargent in that direction. Commissions for history paintings were still considered more prestigious, but were much harder to get. Portrait painting, on the other hand, was the best way of promoting an art career, getting exhibited in the Salon, and gaining commissions to earn a livelihood.

Sargent's first major portrait was of his friend Fanny Watts in 1877, and was also his first Salon admission. Its particularly well-executed pose drew attention. His second salon entry was the Oyster Gatherers of Cançale, an impressionistic painting of which he made two copies, one of which he sent back to the United States, and both received warm reviews.

In 1922 Sargent co-founded New York City's Grand Central Art Galleries together with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark, and others. Sargent actively participated in the Grand Central Art Galleries and their academy, the Grand Central School of Art, until his death in 1925. The Galleries held a major retrospective exhibit of Sargent's work in 1924. He then returned to England, where he died on April 14, 1925 of heart disease. Sargent is interred in Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey.

Memorial exhibitions of Sargent's work were held in Boston in 1925, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Royal Academy and Tate Gallery in London in 1926. The Grand Central Art Galleries also organized a posthumous exhibition in 1928 of previously unseen sketches and drawings from throughout his career.

Sargent was a life-long bachelor who surrounded himself with family and friends. Among the artists with whom Sargent associated were Dennis Miller Bunker, James Carroll Beckwith, Edwin Austin Abbey (who also worked on the Boston Public Library murals), Francis David Millet and Claude Monet, whom Sargent painted. Between 1905 and 1914, Sargent's frequent traveling companions were the married artist couple Wilfrid de Glehn and Jane Emmet de Glehn. The trio would often spend summers in France, Spain or Italy and all three would depict one another in their paintings during their travels.

Sargent developed a life-long friendship with fellow painter Paul César Helleu, whom he met in Paris in 1878 when Sargent was 22 and Helleu was 18. Sargent's friends and supporters included Henry James, Isabella Stewart Gardner (who commissioned and purchased works from Sargent, and sought his advice on other acquisitions), and Edward VII.

Sargent was extremely private regarding his personal life, although the painter Jacques-Émile Blanche, who was one of his early sitters, said after his death that Sargent's sex life "was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger." The truth of this may never be established. Some scholars have suggested that Sargent was homosexual. He had personal associations with Prince Edmond de Polignac and Count Robert de Montesquiou. His male nudes reveal complex and well-considered artistic sensibilities about the male physique and male sensuality; this can be particularly observed in his portrait of Thomas E. McKeller, but also in Tommies Bathing, nude sketches for Hell and Judgement, and his portraits of young men, like Bartholomy Maganosco and Head of Olimpio Fusco. However, there were many friendships with women, as well, and a similar suppressed sensualism informs his female portrait and figure studies (notably Egyptian Girl, 1891). Art historian Deborah Davis suggests that Sargent's interest in women he considered exotic, Rosina Ferrara, Amélie Gautreau and Judith Gautier, was prompted by infatuation that transcended aesthetic appreciation. The likelihood of an affair with Louise Burkhardt, the model for Lady with the Rose, is accepted by Sargent scholars.

By the time Sargent finished his portrait of John D. Rockefeller in 1917, most critics began to consign him to the masters of the past, "a brilliant ambassador between his patrons and posterity." Modernists treated him more harshly, considering him completely out of touch with the reality of American life and with emerging artistic trends including Cubism and Futurism. Sargent quietly accepted the criticism, but refused to alter his negative opinions of modern art. He retorted, "Ingres, Raphael and El Greco, these are now my admirations, these are what I like." In 1925, soon before he died, Sargent painted his last oil portrait, a canvas of Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston. The painting was purchased in 1936 by the Currier Museum of Art, where it is on display.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Singer_Sargent
Renowned society painter John Singer Sargent was exploring the male nude in his public art and private albums. His use of Thomas E. McKeller, an African American elevator operator he befriended, as the model for many of his black-and-white nudes speaks to Sargent's impulse to retink racial paradigms, even as he is caught in them. Day, von Gloeden, and Sargent are part of a tradition of negotiating sexuality and race through art, one that stretches back to Thoreau, Melville, and Stoddard. Art historian Trevor Fairbrother points out that Sargent's male nudes have a sensuous quality, often reclining in positions associated with the female nude. This pose is in direct contrast to patriotic statuary.
Technology and consumer capitalism helped bring some of these artists' images to a broader public. Inexpensive and easily available photographic prints - called studio cards - were now available through mass reproduction, and copies of artworks could be easily obtained by middle-class and even working-class people. This meant that art, once owned only by the wealthy, was becoming democratized and democratizing in a new way.
Most art historians agree that von Gloeden had sexual relationship with men and that Day, Eakins, and Sargent had romantic, if not physical, relationships with men. Women and men who desired their own sex had not found a significant level of freedom in America. But these female and male artists were able to live with a certain amount of visibility, with privileges the ordinary person did not have. --A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski

Spanish Dancer c 1879-82, Private Collection


Portrait of Madame Edouard Pailleron (1880) Corcoran Gallery of Art


Portrait of Madame Ramón Subercaseaux (1881) Private collection


Dr. Pozzi at Home (1881) Hammer Museum


El Jaleo (1882) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) Boston Museum of Fine Art


A Street in Venice, 1882, Clark Art Institute


Street in Venice, c. 1882. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.


The Sulphur Match, oil on canvas, 1882


Portrait of Mrs. Henry White (1883) Corcoran Gallery of Art


Portrait of Madame X (1884) Metropolitan Museum of Art (Madame Pierre Gautreau)


The Misses Vickers, 1884, oil on canvas, 137.8 x 182.9 cm, Weston Park Museum


Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife (1885) Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


Portrait of Arsène Vigeant (1885) Musées de Metz


Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood (1885) Tate Collection


Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-6) Tate Collection


Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1888) Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum


Portrait of the composer Gabriel Fauré (1889) Paris Museum of Music


Paul César Helleu sketching his wife Alice Guérin, (1889) The Brooklyn Museum, New York


Two Girls Lying on the Grass, oil on canvas, 1889. Metropolitan Museum of Art


Portrait of Edwin Booth (1890) hanging at the The Players Club


La Carmencita. Portrait of the dancer Carmencita. Musée d'Orsay, Paris (1890)


Portrait of Mrs. Thomas Lincoln Manson Jr. (ca. 1890) Honolulu Museum of Art


The Hon. Daisy Fellowes (1890-1962).


Egyptian Girl (1891) Art Institute of Chicago


Portrait of Mrs. Hugh Hammersley (1892) Metropolitan Museum of Art


Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892) National Galleries of Scotland


Morning Walk by John Singer Sargent, Private Collection


Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted (1895) Biltmore Estate


The Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, oil on canvas, 1896. National Portrait Gallery, London


Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps-Stokes (1897) Metropolitan Museum of Art


The Sitwell Family, 1900. From left: Dame Edith Sitwell (1887 - 1964), Sir George Sitwell, Lady Ida Sitwell, Sir Sacheverell Sitwell (1897-1988), and Sir Osbert Sitwell (1892-1969)


On his holidays (1901) Lady Lever Art Gallery


William Merritt Chase, oil on canvas, 1902. Metropolitan Museum of Art


Winifred, Duchess of Portland, oil on canvas, 1902


Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt (1903) White House (Sargent had Roosevelt hold his pose when he turned around with impatience to address the artist while they were walking around the White House surveying possible locations for the portrait)


Santa Maria della Salute (1904) Brooklyn Museum of Art


Gondoliers' Siesta, c. 1904


Bedouins, watercolor, c. 1905–1906. Brooklyn Museum of Art


The Chess Game (1906) Harvard Club of New York City


Mrs. Louis E. Raphael (Henriette Goldschmidt) (ca. 1906) Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama


Dolce Far Niente, 1907, Brooklyn Museum of Art


Portrait of Almina, Daughter of Asher Wertheimer (1908) Tate Collection


In a Garden, Corfu (Portrait of Jane Emmet de Glehn) (1909) Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois


Artist in the Simplon, watercolor, c. 1909. Fogg Museum of Art


Escutcheon of Charles V, watercolor, 1912. Metropolitan Museum of Art


George Nathaniel Curzon, oil on canvas, 1914. Royal Geographical Society


Karer See, watercolour, 1914


Muddy Alligators, watercolor, 1917


Portrait of John D. Rockefeller (1917)


Gassed, 1918, oil on canvas 231 x 611.1 cm, Imperial War Museum


Portrait of Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston (1925)


Paul Chalfin was an artist and interior designer with an interest in architecture, most known for his work on Villa Vizcaya.

Paul Chalfin was born on November 2, 1874 in New York to Colonel Samuel Fletcher Chalfin and Jane Voorhees (Connolly) Chalfin.

In 1894 Chalfin began studying at Harvard University and left after two years to become an artist, enrolling at the Art Students League of New York to study painting. After graduation in 1898 he was accepted at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France where he studied painting with Jean-Léon Gérôme, a historic genre painter who had previously taught Thomas Eakins. Although Chalfin possessed excellent taste in building design, utilized his extensive observation of European buildings and monuments, and liked being mistaken for an architect, he never studied or obtained a degree in architecture, nor was he an architect.

While studying in Paris, Chalfin also traveled to Italy in 1899. In 1902 he received honorable mention for the Lazarus Scholarship for his mural painting on the subject of spring. Chalfin returned to Massachusetts in 1903 to succeed Walter T. Cabot as Curator of Chinese and Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While Curator he published a 27-paged catalogue entitled 'Japanese wood carvings, architectural and decorative fragments from temples and palaces.'


Paul Chalfin by Albert Sterner, 1916

In 1905, the Lazarus Scholarship committee granted him a three year scholarship to study mural painting in Italy, and in 1906 Chalfin moved to Rome where he lived at the American Academy. Over the next three years, Chalfin split his time between Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris, studying and copying the works of Piranesi, Fra Angelico and Tiepolo, as well as copying a lunette by Jacopo Pontormo at a villa in Florence, most likely Vertumnus and Pomona. His final month abroad was in Paris, completing his scholarship by painting a large decorative panel entitle The Poet in 1908. In 1909, in honor of his work, the American Academy in Rome named Chalfin a fellow.

In 1910 Chalfin began his most notable and successful project collaborating with F. Burrall Hoffman on the landmark Villa Vizcaya for the industrial magnate James Deering. Deering was an heir of the International Harvester fortune and had acquired substantial land on Biscayne Bay in present day Miami, Florida. Chalfin was responsible for the choice of the general overall design of the main house and garden, and for decorating and furnishing the interior of the main house himself, while F. Burrall Hoffman was responsible for implementing Chalfin's stylistic choices by integrating them into and adapting them to his own designs of the house itself. Chalfin would later claim mean-spiritedly and falsely in an article in the New York Times, that he designed everything at Vizcaya, saying that "Hoffman did the plumbing, I did the house." Under threat of a lawsuit by Hoffman, the New York Times later published a retraction of that article, acknowledging that Hoffman was the architect who designed the house so as to realize Chalfin's overall stylistic choices and adding that it was actually Diego Suarez who designed the Gardens along Chalfin's ideas for it. In fact Chalfin, who had been chosen by Deering as a consultant on external style and interior decoration, was the one who had hired Hoffman in the first place, precisely because Chalfin knew that he himself was not an architect, and one would be required this new building project.

The villa was completed for residency in 1916, and the formal gardens and acres of landscaped grounds completed in 1923.

Despite high praise for his work on Villa Vizcaya, Chalfin never worked on another mansion. Little is documented of Chalfin's later career; he produced several drawings for unrealized houses on Miami Beach and decorated the apartment of actress Lillian Gish, friend of James Deering. Chalfin returned to Vizcaya in 1934 to consult on rehabilitation of the property after a major hurricane. In 1940 Chalfin retired due to failing eyesight. Paul Chalfin died on February 15, 1959 at the age of 84 in a nursing home in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. In 1956, Chalfin was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Decorators and was cited by the American Institute of Architects for his work on the interior of Villa Vizcaya.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Chalfin

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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Tags: art, days of love, eccentric: james deering, lgbt designers
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