Three Acquired Pieces — One Inspiring Collection
If you receive the Two Red Roses Foundation e-newsletter you have already heard the exciting news of their most recent acquisition!
The work of the iconic architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene has been well documented for over a century. Their residential designs in Pasadena, California, starting around 1904, are recognized as their most creative masterworks. The Gamble, Thorsen, Culbertson, Pratt, and the spectacular Blacker houses were all built during this relatively short-lived period (1904-1910). The Blacker commission, in particular, gave the Greenes the financial freedom and opportunity to put their distinctive and eclectic design vocabulary on full display. Metal and wood light fixtures, leaded-glass panels that enhanced doors and windows, and, incredibly, more than fifty pieces of furniture, all of their own design, graced the 12,000 square foot estate.
And The Two Red Roses Foundation was given the unique opportunity to acquire three extremely rare examples of furniture from the Blacker house. All are in original and pristine condition and represent not only the creative genius of Greene & Greene, but also the ideals, philosophy, and principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement itself.
Greene & Greene designed the chiffonier and matching vanity (both circa 1908) for the dressing room of the Blacker House. The chiffonier is listed in a house inventory from the 1940s, and an original design drawing is found in Charles Sumner Greene’s papers at the University of California, Berkeley. Both pieces possess the artistically inspired use of Honduran mahogany, ebony, mirrored glass, patinated brass hardware, copper, pewter, and mother-of-pearl and ash inlays, and represent both a utilitarian demonstration of furniture as well as two wonderful examples of architectural art.
“Perhaps even more than the Greenes’ furniture in other rooms of this house, the living room furniture was conceived as a functional, decorative ensemble integrated with the architecture.” – David Cathers, Arts and Crafts Furniture From The Collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation, 2015.
Greene & Greene also designed two known sofa models for the living room of the Blacker House. The TRRF’s sofa was likely conceived and produced around 1913, during which time several other modifications were made to the house by the Greenes at the request of the Blackers. The use of strategically appointed ebony inlays, upturned armrest corners, and straight legs with a distinctive U-shaped design above the sofa feet all work together seamlessly, fashioning yet another remarkable example of living room furniture. Once again, Greene & Greene have used the combination of extraordinary design, exotic woods, and impeccable craftsmanship to create a timeless work of art.
For more information on the Two Red Roses Foundation and their collection, along with the progress of the Craftsman Museum, please visit tworedroses.com!