"The Dream Garden": Philadelphia's First Designated "Historic Object" that nobody knows about

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Theia Contributing Member • Posts: 503
Re: "The Dream Garden": Philadelphia's First Designated "Historic Object" that nobody knows about

If you're interested, more back story:

Edward Bok was the editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal, a Curtis publication, who commissioned Parrish to paint 18 murals for the top floor of the new headquarters of the Curtis Publishing Company. Parrish started producing sketches in 1910 but the panels took until 1916 to complete. I don’t know if they still exist.

Meanwhile, Austin Abbey was working on the single large mural for the lobby, but he died suddenly. Bok began the search for an artist to replace Abbey, and Parrish was on the selection panel. George de Forest Brush was considered but withdrew. Another artist, Boutet de Monvel was also considered, but he died before the selection panel could review his sketches. The lobby mural was becoming a problem.

Bok then met with Parrish at the Hotel Manhattan in October 1913 and eventually persuaded him to take on the work in addition to the 18 panels that were still not complete. At this time, Bok also discarded the idea of a painted mural in favour of a mosaic and both Parrish and Tiffany submitted preliminary sketches, with Parrish’s Dream Garden being selected.

Parrish’s original painted artwork was photographed in several sections which were then enlarged and served as the cartoon for the mosaic. Parrish visited the studios and saw the mosaic in progress only once when he was waiting for a train in New York. Louis Tiffany was not there, and he only briefly watched the workers without telling them who he was. So, not much collaboration!

After the mosaic was completed in the spring of 1915 it was exhibited at the Tiffany studios for a month and more than 7,000 people went to see it. It was then disassembled and transported to Philadelphia for installation.

Originally, the mosaic had alabaster pots and a heavy stone table in front. The Christmas decorations don’t match the theme. Or perhaps the building staff is confusing Parrish with Rockwell.

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