Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Dear friends: this blog is now closed, BUT please visit my new blog: . Thanks for taking a look! -Alan Rosenberg

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I had never been to Wave Hill before but finally went last week. Wave Hill is a public garden comprised of two, previously private, adjoining estates on high land overlooking the Hudson River in Riverdale, in the Bronx, New York. There are formal gardens and naturalistic landscapes and two historic houses, Wave Hill House and Glyndor House (the latter in my photos below). The very persistently hot summer has taken a toll on greenery everywhere this year, drying out and burning leaves and grass but Wave Hill is still refreshing and beautiful. The moderate scale of the landscape makes it easy to enjoy in an afternoon and it was incredibly easy to get there via the number 2 express bus which was an airconditioned adventure in itself, winding its way through Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx. Do visit.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The Chicago apartment of Lindy and Edward Bergman has always been fascinating to me and my recollection of seeing it in the January/February 1973 issue of Architectural Digest was refreshed when I pulled that issue off the shelf at my parents' apartment recently. The Bergman's collected an important assembly of surrealist art which has since been given to the Art Institute of Chicago. The collection includes very important examples by de Chirico, Tanguy, Dali, Magritte, Marisol, Delvaux and many other artists. The decoration of their apartment was remarkable because it appears fairly modest, but a close look at the photographs published in Architectural Digest shows extraordinary juxtapositions of modern, surrealist and African art, 17th and 18th century English furniture and luxurious wallcoverings and textiles. I've never seen any other interior quite like this one. It's incredibly rich but extremely subtle.  I love the houseplants throughout. The interiors were designed by Virginia Phillips. Click on the photos to see more detail.

Library: wallcovering and curtains in pewter suede. Art by Marisol, Calder, Friedeberg, English furniture, African textiles, modern leather sofa.

Bedroom: art by Paul Delvaux, Claes Oldenburg, Joseph Cornell, Asian furniture, pre-Columbian jewelry mounted on wall; wallcovering is pink and bronze tone damask; chandelier is early 19th century gilt-bronze.

Living room: leather-covered Chesterfield sofa, hand-woven curtains by Maria Kipp, bronze table by Giacometti, sculptures by Arp, Bontecou, Cornell

Living room: batik velvet upholstery, African, South Pacific and pre-Columbian art, 18th century English secretary, paintings by Enrico Baj and Giorgio de Chirico; Picasso ceramics and coffee table made out of a Sicilian donkey cart.

Living room: art nouveau leaded glass fire screen, old English furniture, art by Picasso, Ernst, et al. Note houseplants.

Handwoven curtains by Maria Kipp, boxes by Joseph Cornell, Oceanic art, houseplants.

Foyer, wood paneling, Elizabethan wedding chest and Hamadan wedding rug, art by Miro, Marisol and Brauner.

Dining room: wood paneled walls, Liberty-style silk curtains, Georgian furniture, paintings by Magritte and Tanguy, sculptures by Miro and George Segal.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


When I visit my parents' apartment and stay overnight I sleep in the maid's room in which my mother keeps her collection of Architectural Digest magazines. I love it--it's so cozy and, of course, I could spend hours looking at the AD's which date back to 1971. My old bedroom is now my father's and my brother's old bedroom is now my father's office. The master bedroom is my mother's domain. Browsing through some of those early 1970s Architectural Digests I came across a feature on the Montecito, California, home of Wright Ludington in the January/February 1973 issue. Ludington is described as an "internationally known collector and arbiter of taste." I probably first became aware of Ludington and his collection when I visited, many years ago, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, to which he bequeathed many magnificent works of modern and ancient art. Those works of art are shown in the photographs of Ludington's villa, including paintings by Picasso, Braque, Redon, Roualt, ancient Roman, Mexican and Egyptian sculpture and 18th century European furniture. Ludington collaborated on the design of the house with architect Lutah Riggs and interior designer Leonard Stanley. I aspire to Ludington's level of connoisseurship.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Found on a recent expedition: Softly, a "mood album" of musical recordings promoting sedative Placidyl (ethchlorovynol) still wrapped in its original plastic. "Placidyl . . .and softly gentle slumber comes. Rest assured." Songs selected by Jackie Gleason: "This new album for Abbott Laboratories brings us more of the now-famous Gleason sound. . . here is surely the best that good listening music has to offer. So if you prefer music for quiet reminiscing or just plain relaxing, sit back and enjoy yourself. Then you'll know . . . HOW SWEET IT IS."

Sunday, July 4, 2010


The photos below are not from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I took these pictures at the Metropolitan Museum of Riverside California on my recent visit there (well, it wasn't so recent but, like tens of thousands of other bloggers, I'm way behind on my posts). The museum has an interesting exhibition on "Adornment" (on view until February 2011) which includes a charmingly surrealistic section on historic hairstyles, executed by the students at the Riverside Community College, Department of Cosmetology. It really was an extremely thoughtful exhibition and the research and execution undertaken by the cosmetology students warms my mind.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I had not been to "the Huntington" in San Marino, California, since my first trip to Los Angeles, quite a while ago. I finally got back there on my recent trip. A renovation of the galleries was completed recently and it really shows, in a good way. The installations are stunningly subtle (an oxymoron, yes), refined, exalted. The elements--art, architecture, furniture, decorative arts-are European (magnificence) but the effect is American (unencumbered). The gardens--Japanese, Chinese, Desert, Australian, etc--are splendid individuallly and viewed consecutively acheive an effect of additive awe. Definitely devote a day.
Chinese garden
Japanese house
Japanese garden
Bonsai collection:
Desert garden

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I bought these vintage postcards at Shine Gallery in the old farmer's market in Los Angeles, also the home of another favorite, Littlejohn's Candies. Shine gallery has the most amazing, extensive inventory of novelties, trinkets, little toys and gifts, all from the 1920's-1970's, the kinds of things you may have bought as a child with your allowance at a shop that sold penny candy, comic books, magazines, greeting cards and novelties and may have had a soda fountain and ice cream counter. Such places still existed when I was a child in the 1970's. These postcards show custom cars designed and built by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, the leader of Kalifornia Kustom Kar Kulture. I love the 1960's beach party movies and I remember seeing some on television when I was a pre-teen that were truly surrealistic, with bizarre space-alien, sea monster and ghost subplots which were obviously influenced by or expressive of the kustom kulture. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Some of the reinstalled galleries at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are now open and some are still in progress. The groovy (literally) installation of the art of ancient America will probably need to be redesigned within a decade. The new galleries for German Expressionist art are smooth, dark and lovely (might make it past the decade mark). I'm praying to god (the board of directors) that the old master galleries will incorporate furniture and decorative arts. Installation in progress looks hopeful (my photos below).

Sunday, May 2, 2010


We visited the Getty Villa in Malibu, California, my first time there (to the Getty Villa). The buildings, gardens and site are magnificent and there are remarkable things within. I am amazed, but not surprised, that some critics derided it as Disney-like kitsch when it opened. Of course, for me there is no such thing as kitsch, even Disney is deadly serious (seriously). The design was directed by Norman Neuerburg with a great deal of input by Mr. Getty himself . An extraordinary amount of handcraftsmanship was utilized in carrying out the design (coloful mosaics, intricate plasterwork, exquisite wall paintings, rich marble veneers). In a 1975 article, published in volume IV of Classical America, soon after the completion of the museum, Neuerburg recounted that "the initial reaction of the local critics, none capable of judging what had been done, was essentially negative, ranging from just unkind to downright vitriolic, and unfortunately their comments were picked up around the world and repeated by other equally unimaginative people."  He also noted though, that "the public, fortunately, doesn't pay too much attention to what critics say and the Museum has become impressively popular with visitors."