Category Archives: Icons

Happy 130th Birthday, Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso in his studio

“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”
130 years ago today in Málaga, Spain, Baby Picasso made his debut onto the world stage. Little did his mama know her bundle of joy would rock the art world to its core, yet here we are, decades later, still in awe of his work. It amazes me, as I look through my own Picasso collection (well, my collection of photos of other people’s Picasso’s!) how intensely their presence impacts the mood of a room. Clearly, although the artist is gone, the art lives on.
Happy 130th Birthday, Picasso!
Designed by William Hodgins for Architectural Digest. Hanging above the fireplace is Picasso’s “Femme dans l’Atelier”

Designed by Marie Burgos for Elle Decor

Designed by Stephen Sills and James Huniford for Architectural Digest

Designed by Christopher Maya for House Beautiful. Hanging above the fireplace is Picasso's "Woman In Armchair"

Designed by De La Torre Design Studio featuring Picasso's "Tete de Femme"

Designed by Richard Hallberg for Veranda Magazine

The Astor Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in Singapore displays several original lithographs from Picasso's "Toro" series


Ansel Adams

I was a young little thing in pigtails when I became aware of my Grandpa’s love for Ansel Adams’ work. Perhaps he sensed a kindred spirit, sharing a love of photography and nature. Perhaps, after his many years spent as a park ranger in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, my grandfather enjoyed seeing beloved landscapes immortalized on film. Perhaps it was the beauty and emotion that Adams expertly captured with the click of a shutter. Whatever it was that inspired Grandpa, he passed it on to me.

So in researching Ansel Adams’ photography, I was thrilled to come across these images of his home in Big Sur, photographed in 1983. A person’s home says so much about them and it’s clear that Ansel and his wife, Virginia, appreciated beauty and loved life.  “I love it here,” he once said, “I don’t like leaving.”

Ansel Adams' home, designed by architect Eldridge T. Spencer, was surrounded by the natural vegetation of Big Sur.

The natural stone fireplace is flanked by Native American baskets and the Adams' extensive library. Above the mantle is a Chinese Confucian temple drum. French Rococo chairs bring an elegant balance to the space.

A gallery was designed to exhibit Adams' extensive collection. The wall color was specifically chosen by Adams to perfectly preserve and balance the light/color of his photographs.

The dining room was done in natural tones and materials to compliment the ocean view.

On the opposite end of the gallery, a 1927 photo of Yosemite National Park is displayed as well as a bronze bust of Adams, created by sculptor Betty Brissell.

Ansel Adams meticulously designed this dark room in his home, allowing him to explore new technologies and techniques.

"Cathedral Peak and Lake" c. 1938

"Half Dome, Merced River, Winter" c. 1938

"Tetons and the Snake River" c. 1942

As a designer, it's a wonderful surprise to see an interior photo shot by Ansel Adams! "Interior with Statue of Bull" c.1930

Interior photos courtesy of Architectural Digest.  Full article found here.  Ansel Adams photography/prints available for purchase online and used courtesy of Ansel Adams Gallery.

Future Icons: Grant K. Gibson

Grant K. Gibson is, in many ways, a modern-day version of Albert Hadley. Both display a fearless approach to design and masterfully strike a balance between sophistication and artistic originality. Like Hadley, Grant can seamlessly pull together a room that is breathtakingly unique yet so comfortable that clients never want to leave! Since being named on Elle Decor’s “5 Designers to Watch” list in June 2010, Grant’s career has shot to meteoric heights and, considering his impeccable taste, it’s no surprise. I can’t wait to see what else he has in store!

Photos (and a fabulous interview with Grant!) can be found on La Dolce Vita. And to get to know the man himself, visit Grant’s blog.