Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Preservation Studies in SEAA

Gallier & Turpin watercolor perspective drawing for Luling house, 1865.
Last week we welcomed Professor John Stubbs' Master of Preservation Studies (MPS) students to SEAA. John talked to the class about our current exhibit, "The Laurel Valley Photographs of Philip M. Denman", which includes a three volume survey of the plantation, which he wrote in 1975 for the Thibodaux U.S. Bicentennial Committee. John also wrote the foreword to the exhibit, and MPS co-hosted the exhibit's opening reception in September in SEAA. We also brought out examples of the types of material researchers might find in SEAA, focusing on the Luling Mansion on Leda Court in New Orleans. Built in 1865 for German immigrant and cotton merchant Florence Luling, the house was designed by Gallier and Turpin (James Gallier, Jr. and John Turpin) as an Italian Renaissance style palazzo. The house originally faced Esplanade Avenue, but the grounds were subdivided in the 19teens and turned into a bungalow neighborhood obscuring the mansion from Esplanade. After his two young sons drowned in nearby Bayou St. John, and he lost the bulk of his fortune and moved back to Germany, Luling sold his house and property to the Louisiana Jockey Club in 1871, which used the mansion as its clubhouse until 1905. The students were very engaged, and it was a joy to have them with us.

Above and below are items we showed the class, including the original Gallier and Turpin watercolor perspective rendering, a Theodore Lilienthal 1867 photo of the house in its early days showing its original dependencies accessed by arched bridges. The dependencies contained a stable, kitchen, billiard/smoking room, and a bowling alley. The faint pencil drawing is by James Freret, ca. 1870, and we're not sure why he drew it. The large photo is a reproduction of one from the 1870s, when the house served as the Jockey Club. And we have photos from the 1890s through the 1950s. The ink drawing is a 1904 proposal by Rathbone DeBuys to alter the exterior of the mansion in the arts and crafts style, but was never carried out. And, an 1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the house with its dependencies, when used at the Jockey Club. The house was converted to an apartment building in the 1930s, and is still in use today.

1867 Theodore Lilienthal photograph.

Ca. 1870 pencil drawing by James Freret.

Reproduction of 1870s photograph, Unidentified photographer.
1904 Rathbone DeBuys ink on linen drawing for proposal
to redesign the mansion.
1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Luling house with its original dependencies when it was used as
the Louisiana Jockey Club.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Cities of the Dead Class

We welcomed Professor Heather Knight's "Cities of the Dead" class to SEAA last week for an introduction to our holdings and a tour of our stacks to give the students an idea of what an archives looks like. We brought out materials from our Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company records, including watercolor presentation renderings and plaster scale models for tombs, which were used to show clients potential designs. Great expense went into these drawings and models, but the result of a client spending many times more than the price of some of the costlier homes in New Orleans at the time, was well worth the effort. The Weiblen company had architects on staff who designed many of the large-scale "golden age" tombs of Metairie Cemetery in the 19teens through the 1940s, including Lorenzo Orsini, Charles Lawhon, and Ralph Phillippi. The company also worked with other leading New Orleans architects hired by clients. 

We also included in our talk working plans, bronze decoration and art glass samples, and photographs of the Weiblen stone carvers, masons, and office staff. A highlight of our stacks tour included the concrete, plaster, and copper foil scale model of the 1918 Bendel family tomb and memorial at the Jewish Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana, also made by the Weiblen company, designed by Charles Lawhon. The photo shows the tomb fairly soon after completion. The tomb was commissioned by Henri Bendel to hold the remains of his mother, father, and step-father. Bendel, who was born in Vermilionville, Louisiana in 1868, established himself as a milliner in New York City in 1895, and soon after created what became the iconic Henri Bendel department store. It was announced recently that the remaining Henri Bendel boutiques located throughout the United States would close.  

Printmaking Class Talk and Buck Tomb

We recently spoke to Tulane Professor Pippin Frisbie-Calder's printmaking class. We were asked to show the students ou...