Friday, September 23, 2011

Field Trip! The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

My partner did not arrive home from his trip to California until 2:00 AM this morning, poor thing, due to flight delays.  Remember when air travel was a glam adventure?  I tried really tried to stay up for him but the longer he was delayed the more Martinis I slammed back and so by the time he arrived I was a messy, well, --mess!

So it wasn't until the crack of noon that I got my sorry tush going this morning.  I needed to step on it if I was going to make it to the Art Institute before closing time!

First things first: I made a pit-stop at the Minnesota College of Art & Design (MCAD) conveniently located right next door to the Museum.  The trip brought me back to my old neighborhood stomping grounds --oh, how nice again to see the angsty, tortured, young art students sulking down the very Street Where I Lived!  All thinking they're going to take the Art World by storm!  Oh, tender Youth!  Bless your hearts!

Bitter? Party of one...

I picked up some metallic gold pigment powder at their claustrophobic art supply store  to sprinkle over the wet gilt paint that I plan on using on some of the moldings.  Next, it was off to the the venerable, marbled halls of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts!

Whenever I visit the Art Institute, I always make a bee-line toward the Period Rooms.  I never tire of examining their exquisite, antique furnishings,  and the mastery of the workmanship of their paneled walls So inspiring!

After a lovely afternoon admiring gorgeous things that I can't afford, I ducked into their Gift Shop to snatch up a few more postcards to be turned into artwork for the walls of Merriman Park. 
These chairs match the table best.  I think a pair of candle lamps are needed on the table.  (Great, more electrical)!
Oh, yeah!  I also have been playing with some furniture that I've been picking up here and there.  What do you think?
I love this mirror! (left)  It might not end up here, but I love it!

I am planning on furnishing the Entrance Hall rather sparsely --just four chairs in the corners, the few tables you see in the top photo and maybe a table in the center of the room.
This table positively screams for a floral arrangement!
I'm not sure this is the right table for the center of the hall, or not.  My huz thinks it's 'too simple.'  I know there are some interior designers out there following this blog, as well as some strong-opined miniaturists, so what do you think?

Here is another question:  do you think all four chairs in this room should match, or not?  Personally, I'm not a 'matchy-matchy' kind of guy, but I want the room to have a semblance to Period accuracy.  Imagine, if you will, it's 1795-1820 in a house about eighty years older.  Here are the chairs I have 'on hand.'  Which one(s) do you like for this space?  (Keep in mind I can and will be changing the upholstery).

Option A.  Walnut

Option B. Black lacquer
Option C.  Ruetzer
Option D.  Louis XVI oval
Option E  Louis XVI square

Or maybe they all suck?  Let me know what you think.  Have a great weekend, everybody!


Kate said...[Reply]

I don't know about period accuracy, but chairs one and two have a graceful,simple line that complements your entry room. Then again, the upholstered chairs could look very charming if they were redone in the right fabric. The middle one gets a *meh*'s not worthy of the room.

I lived in Minneapolis for five years in the late 70s-early 80s and never once visited the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It's the kind of place I would totally love too. At the time I was married to mr. very-wrong and at home with small children, so the possibility of a day out taking in art and culture wasn't even on my radar. My older son lives in the twin cities, and I'm going to put that on the agenda for my next visit. It's never too late to live the life you love.

Thanks for sharing your process of building and your thoughts on decorating Merriman Park. I really enjoy your posts and especially your photos!

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
I'm happy Glen got back safe and sound!
The room looks even better when furnished. From the little I know about georgian room arrangements, I don't think there would be a table in the middle of the entrance. I think all the furniture was set around the room. If you do keep the table, I'd go with something more ornate and not so dark. Again, if memory serves me correctly, solid dark wood furniture came into fashion during the victorian period. I'd maybe go for something gilt?
As for the chair, I know Louis XV styles were in vogue, but from the pictures I've seen, and my Dougless Guides, I'd go for the square back.
Keep in mind it's been years since Im was in Interior Design and Art History classes, so I might be wrong.

John said...[Reply]

Kate, by all means check out MIA on your next visit --chat me up and maybe we can have coffee next time you're in town?

Giac, I know they kept furniture against the walls in the eighteenth century, but I'm going for a 'layered effect' of later, Regency-era furniture placed in an 'older' room. Does that make a difference?

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
Sorry, I'm exhausted and for some reason Merriman Park became georgian in my mind! From what I double checked and the table in the middle of the room only is more victorian. I did read that a table in the middle of the room would appear with chairs for certain purposes (as a card table for example). That's the "Period appropriate" opinion. Personaly, I like the center table but would go for something more ornate/ gilt.
Oh yeah, the chairs should match. Again, mismatched chairs was a victorian anti-symmetry thing.
Hope this helps!

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Giac --that's what I had in my head, anyway. (That the chairs should match). It goes against my 'personal aesthetic' but I do want the rooms to be at least passably accurate if not completely.

Simon said...[Reply]

Hi Guys. I actually slept right through last night and woke up in a cold sweat thinking it was Friday morning again and I had to go to work! AND JUST LOOK at all your fantastic progress I woke up to! Firstly, I'm glad Glen got home safe, if not a little late.
I prefere the walnut furniture, I think it goes with the warm wallpaper better than the others. I'm pretty sure that there would have been little if any upholstery in this room as the furniture, though handsomely carved, would have needed to have been practicle, what with muddy visitors etc - The watch word was "easy clean" in this room (hense no rugs etc). I like the table in the middle, though without it there is a real sense of space but it does draw the door at the back forward and I think (he went on to declare with no interior design experience) that it pulls the other tables and chairs together thus making it more cohesive whole, and less clynical. If you know what I mean?
I digress... Another great job John, well done. The main thing is you can chop and change, mix and match, 'til your heart is content - the room will naturally find its own esthetic after a while. And with your guiding hand there is no such thing as "wrong".
Take care.

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Si, I just advised another miniaturist to trust their own instincts and maybe that's what I should do, too. I have always been horrible about following 'decorating rules'! LOL!

Irene said...[Reply]

It's really all coming together now.