This year marks twenty five years of tours for the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Zimmerman House. To celebrate, the Museum’s After Hours event for August is a 1950’s themed bash. The library and archives focus exhibit will be open for view and we’ll have some scrapbooks and exhibition catalogs from the 50’s for visitors to peruse. This was a busy decade for the Currier. Check out some selections below!
DigitalCurrier is the first initiative of its kind for the Currier Museum of Art. The Museum Archives, located on the basement level of the museum, contain the institutional records of the institution from its inception in 1914 and opening in 1929 to the present. DigitalCurrier aims to provide high quality scans of Currier Museum of Art publications for educational use. DigitalCurrier currently includes all of the issues of the Museum’s first publication, The Bulletin, published between 1929 – 1994, as well as several dozen exhibition catalogs.
Search the collections here: http://currierartarchives.omeka.net/
Curators often work with the library and archives collections in preparation for upcoming shows. Today we pulled out Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton illustrated with pictures by Maxfield Parrish, as part of the research for our show Maxfield Parrish: The Power of the Print. Parrish produced an abundance of work for a variety of products and publications. Parrish often produced publications for Century Magazine. This book written by Edith Wharton and published in 1904 was commissioned by the editor of Century Magazine. You’ll learn a bit more about the publication itself and Parrish’s work in the exhibit but for now we wanted to share just a few images of the book and some ephemera tucked inside the pages that distinguishes our copy from others. This book was donated by Henry Melville Fuller, a great benefactor of the Currier Museum of Art. Inside the pages were tucked a coloring page of a gray squirrel, the booksellers stamp from the Boston book dealer where the book was originally purchased and a sheet of paper watermarked Old Berkshire Mills which appears to be contemporaneous to the publication of the book.
The Isadore J. and Lucille Zimmerman House (1950) was designed by one of the world’s greatest modern architects, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Wright designed the house, the interiors, all the furniture, the gardens, and even the mailbox. In 1979 the building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Dr. and Mrs. Zimmerman left the property to the Currier in 1988. In 1990 the house and grounds were opened so that visitors could enjoy glimpses of a private world from the 1950s and 1960s, including the Zimmermans’ personal collection of modern art, pottery, and sculpture.
The Currier Museum of Art Archives contains personal papers from Lucille and Isadore Zimmerman which include photographs, correspondence, personal belongings and their private library. The Zimmerman House Collection contains the records of the museum as related to the management, interpretation and preservation of the Zimmerman House as a historic house museum. The collections are open to the public for research.
To learn more about the Zimmermans and their house check out these resources.
The archive collections are described in these two documents. Before scheduling a visit take some time to review them and determine what boxes in particular might be of interest. The finding aid gives a brief description of the collection and its contents and provides a general overview of the material contained within it. For a more detailed item list of all the material housed in the collection review the material list.
Lucille Zimmerman maintained a regular correspondence with Frank Lloyd Wright’s office. She wrote to Wright himself, Wright’s wife Olgivanna Lloyd Wright and Eugene Masselink assistant to Wright. Letters between the Zimmerman family and Frank Lloyd Wright’s office are indexed here Z_correspondence_index. These letters, some reproductions from Taliesin, are available for review.
In 1989 shortly after the Currier assumed ownership of the house, the architectural firm of Tilton + Lewis completed a Historic Structure Report for the dwelling. You can read the entire report online through our digital library.
In 1991 Currier Museum curator Michael Komanecky published a 141 page book about the house entitled, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Zimmerman House its History and its Restoration. You can read it online via our digital library. The Zimmerman House is considered a Usonian house. Learn more about the style in this article published in the Currier Museum of Art Bulletin. For more information on the process of acquiring the house and the archive this article published in the journal Art Documentation, from 2009 provides an overview. dickeyarticleArtDoc Zhouse.
For a quick and visual introduction to the Zimmerman House watch the introductory video which begins most of our Zimmerman house guided tours. You can find it on the Currier’s youtube channel. You can also see some images of the house on our flickr page.
Search the library catalog for books on Frank Lloyd Wright and for books owned by the Zimmermans. In the advanced search field, select notes and enter “zimmerman” without the quotations to retrieve a list of titles owned by the Zimmermans.
To schedule a visit or ask a question email us at library @currier.org or give us a call (603) 518-4927. The house is open for tours, learn more here.
Lucille and Isadore Zimmerman lived together with their dog, a dalmatian named Checkers, in their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. The Zimmermans had several formal portraits done of Checkers. Checkers became the focus of a celebration at the Zimmerman House in 1994. Dalmatian Day: Checkers’ Birthday Celebration held at the house included a checkers tournament, a human checkers game and a dalmatian dog show.
Checkers became the center of a great debate regarding the floor at the Zimmerman House. According to correspondence between Lucille and Frank Lloyd Wright’s offices at Taliesin, the red colorant used on the concrete was dusting off everywhere. We learn from a letter dated October 1, 1952:
Lucille goes on to mention that the prized polar bear skin rug she had acquired for the home under FLW’s direction “is red.”
Wright took quick action to remedy the situation and before long Lucille noted that “my dog is white again.”
We don’t have an image of Checkers in red, black and white, but here is a gallery of some photographs of the beloved dog and the Birthday Bash held in 1994 at the Zimmerman House (all images courtesy Currier Museum of Art Reference Library and Archives, Zimmerman Family Papers and Zimmerman House Collection).
We are immersed in Photorealism these days with the opening of our next exhibition Still Life: 1970’s Photorealism upon us (the show opens tomorrow 1/24) but this recent find in the rare book’s stacks reminded us of a complimentary conversation of the 1960’s and 70’s. The Museum of Modern Art’s “The Machine: As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age” opened on November 27, 1968. You can see a scan of the original press release from the archives at MOMA. The exhibit was billed as “a collection of comments on technology” which explored the age of the “mechanical machine – which can most easily be defined as an imitation of our muscles.” Much like the catalog Billy produced in the same year, this exhibition catalog fits in the category of artist book. The book is bound in metal with an intensely modern image on the cover. Similar to the photorealist model of developing a painting from source photographs, the cover design by Anders Österlin was based on a photograph, in this case by Alicia Legg a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit concerned itself with two machines in particular, the car and the camera and the human relationship to each. What do you make of the flyleaf below?