Thursday, June 2, 2011

travel thursday — philip johnson's glass house — part 2

While the main attrac­tion at Philip Johnson's New Canaan CT prop­erty is the Glass House itself, there are sev­eral ancil­lary struc­tures on the estate that he and his part­ner David Whit­ney used to enter­tain and house some of their art collection.

philip johnson's glass house

philip johnson's glass house

From above the main house, you can see in this pic­ture a por­tion of the Brick House, designed for guests. In oppo­si­tion to the trans­parency of the glass house, the brick house has only three round win­dows on its rear façade. Accord­ing to our guide, the Brick House was inun­dated by water shortly after the the prop­erty opened to the pub­lic, result­ing in exten­sive dam­age to the inte­rior and its fur­nish­ings. The restora­tion project has been under­way since 2008.

the brick house for guests on the glass house property

the brick house for guests on the glass house property

To the right, out of frame in the pic­ture above, is the swim­ming pool, seen below.

the glass house swimming pool

the glass house swim­ming pool

As we con­tinue across the upper path, we arrive at what appears to be an under­ground bunker, but is in fact the Paint­ing Gallery. John­son and Whit­ney were avid sup­port­ers of con­tem­po­rary artists and col­lected a vari­ety of works. Many of their larger pieces are housed in this masonry and earth berm facil­ity built in 1965. Within the three cir­cu­lar pods, cen­ter spin­dles allow for stor­age of 42 works, although only a few are viewed at one time.

entrance to the painting gallery at the glass house

entrance to the paint­ing gallery at the glass house

Within the entry of the Paint­ing Gallery, on the left is this Michael Heizer paint­ing of a sculp­ture to be made and  on the right, three pho­tographs by Lynn Davis.

michael heizer painting in the glass house painting gallery new canaan ct

michael heizer paint­ing in the glass house paint­ing gallery

Step­ping fur­ther into the three cir­cles, a few of the pieces on dis­play, the first two by Frank Stella:

frank stella multi-media work at glass house new canaan ct

frank stella multi-media work at glass house paint­ing gallery

frank stella multi-media work at glass house new canaan ct

frank stella multi-media work at glass house paint­ing gallery

Two more pieces, sorry I didn't catch the artist's name on these…

 

two large scale paintings at the glass house painting gallery new canaan ct

two large scale paint­ings at the glass house paint­ing gallery

From the paint­ing gallery, we next visit the Sculp­ture Gallery. The gallery fea­tures five lev­els and was designed to feel like a Greek vil­lage on the side of a vol­cano, where streets are stair­cases. The inte­rior play of light in this build­ing is stun­ning. Some of the most appeal­ing pieces (to me, anyway):

"Raft of the Medusa" by frank stella, aluminum

"Raft of the Medusa" by frank stella, aluminum

"two lovers on a bed" by george segal (right) and "the archbishop, the golfer and ralph" by john chamberlain (left)

"two lovers on a bed" by george segal (right) and "the arch­bishop, the golfer and ralph" by john cham­ber­lain (left)

a portion of andrew lord's "large vessels", bismuth clay and gold

a por­tion of andrew lord's "large ves­sels", bis­muth clay and gold

tubular steel rafters form the ceiling in the sculpture gallery

tubu­lar steel rafters form the ceil­ing in the sculp­ture gallery

The tour ends with a walk to the top of the dri­ve­way and a brief look at Da Mon­sta, which John­son con­ceived as a future vis­i­tor cen­ter after his death. Sadly it proved to be too small for that task.

da monsta at glass house - this image via philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

da mon­sta at glass house — this image via philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

Part of the joy of explor­ing this won­der­ful National Trust site on a beau­ti­ful day was spend­ing it with dear friends. Here we are hav­ing a well deserved rest in charm­ing New Canaan CT.

girls' day out was a blast!

girls' day out was a blast!

Be sure to book a tour of Philip Johnson's Glass House on your next visit to Con­necti­cut. You are sure to enjoy this mod­ernist archi­tec­tural gem in its pris­tine setting.

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Leave a comment

  1. KMS says:

    Love the last photo of the four beau­ti­ful "models"!!!!!

  2. Amy Graver says:

    Very lovely post. Thanks for shar­ing and all the details you pro­vided were enjoy­able to read and share.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Amy, you should have seen me typ­ing notes on my iPhone while we walked around. I'm sure the guide thought I was amaz­ingly rude!