Some ten days ago we spent a day in Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles, visiting a couple of interesting places, including the iconic “Gamble House.” Yes, Gamble as in “Procter & Gamble…”
From Wikipedia: “The David B. Gamble House is an iconic American Craftsman home designed by the architectural firm Greene and Greene. Built in 1908–09 as a winter residence for David and Mary Gamble, the three-story Gamble House is considered America’s Arts and Crafts masterpiece. It is a National Historic Landmark, California Historical Landmark, and museum. Its style shows influence from traditional Japanese aesthetics and Californian way of living. The American Craftsman style architecture was focused on the use of natural materials, attention to detail, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. David and Mary Gamble lived in the house during the winter months until their deaths in 1923 and 1929, respectively. Mary’s younger sister Julia lived in the house until her death in 1943. Cecil Huggins Gamble and his wife Louise Gibbs Gamble lived in the house beginning in 1946 and briefly considered selling it until prospective buyers spoke of painting the interior teak and mahogany woodwork white. In 1966, the Gamble family turned the house over to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture. The Gamble House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Today, two 5th-year USC architecture students live in the house full-time; the selected students change annually.”
I loved the place. Would love to live in it. The simple style of the house disguises beautifully customized details that reflect the dedication and care of both owners and architects while designing it. Doors, windows, stairways, furniture, rugs, and beautiful light fixtures, were all designed especially for the house by the Greene brothers. And everything there today is still original. The house is quite dark inside so photographing some areas was a challenge. Not to mention a guided tour that didn’t give us time and freedom to roam around and photograph leisurely.
“Beguines” were single or widowed women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world. Many Belgian and Dutch cities set up “beguinages” where these women could live and practice their religion. Today these Beguinages are no longer used by beguines. The Beguinage in Bruges, for example, has been a convent for Benedictine nuns since 1927. The grounds are absolutely beautiful with tall trees and beautiful daffodils all around them. Since we could not visit the houses, I went around photographing doors! All the doors in the beguinage are green, and most are very simple, with a few exceptions shown here.
While in Amsterdam last April, I saw an installation by French artist Christian Boltanski at the Oude Kerk (“old church”), Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church which also functions as a venue for art events. I confess I was bit divided between admiring the message and somber beauty of the exhibition and feeling a bit creeped out by the dark setting, the whispers, and the “statues” that would ask questions when you walked by them. The first time I passed by one it asked me: “Tell me, what is death like?” Scared the hell out of me! So, what do you think?
For this week’s Thursday Doors, here are the green doors of Rembrandt’s house, in Amsterdam. The most famous Dutch painter lived and worked in this house between 1639 and 1656, when he apparently ran out of money to pay his mortgage… The green and red combination of doors and windows is very pretty. The windows are green on the outside and red on the inside.
The Doors of the Hermitage — The Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is located on the banks of the Amstel river in Amsterdam and is an exhibition space and cultural education center with a focus on Russian history and culture. The art there is very beautiful but that didn’t keep me from noticing some interesting doors around the building. I thought I’d use some on Norm’s Thursday Doors.
Last Saturday I saw a musical about young Marc Chagall and his first wife Bella Rosenfeld. A love story that ended with her premature death. “Flying Lovers of Vitebsk” is a small and unpretentious British production, that didn’t quite live up to my expectations –I was hoping for something more visually stimulating because…Chagall!– but it was still quite enchanting. It made me think of a couple of his paintings among the many I’ve photographed: “I and the Village,” 1911 (MoMA) and “Cow with Parasol,” 1946 (NY Met). Chagall’s paintings are so full of details and stories, I like to break them into several scenes.
And here’s a glimpse at “Flying Lovers.” https://youtu.be/VJ4K3mIP9dA.