Our weekend of Enchantment and dreams by the sea culminated with a lovely early morning beach watch. October is an especially beautiful time of year on the California coast and we drank in all its charms.
For a finale we were treated to brunch with a spell-binding presentation by Victoria Kastner. Complete with historic photographs and dramatic monologues of the voice of W.R. Hearst speaking through his letters to his mother as to why she should support his desire to purchase wonderful European sculptures and other decorative arts now available throughout Europe following WWI. He was very persuasive with his impassioned quest to collect the finest objects, architectural fragments and tapestries.
Victoria has been working with the Hearst’s for over 30 years and is the author of three books on all things relating to Hearst Castle. This lecture by Ms. Kastner was a sneak preview of the book,” Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy,” before its actual release on November 26 of this year.
Driving home to Sacramento, Ashlee Richardson and I had spirited discussions of what we had seen and learned from our special tour of San Simeon which was hosted by the ICAA ( Institute of Classical Art and Architecture). We were delighted by the interesting professionals we had met from northern and southern California. Our interior design project for California State University Sacramento was enhanced by the details we had gleaned from studying the Castle’s interior furnishings. In general, our appreciation for Mr. Hearst, the collector and his relationship with Julia Morgan was heightened. We came away from the weekend enchanted with the Hearst Castle and truly inspired.
We hope you will come along on our next adventure with Classical Architecture as our muse.
My fascination with everything Julia Morgan has taken me to a series of lectures presented by the California Institute for Classical Art and Architecture, California north Chapter in San Francisco. The third in the series was Tuesday evening, ”Hearst the collector” , an illustrated lecture by Mary Levkoff.
It was delightful to drive into the Presidio as the evening was falling and the view of the bay and the city skyline from near the Golden Gate Bridge was breathtaking. The Disney Family Museum is in the buildings near Crissy field. Here we met with the author for a reception and book signing in a space with “It’s a Small World” art work on walls and floors.
“It’s a Small World” Wall Tile
“It’s a Small World” Floor Motif
Ms. Levkoff , former curator for the LA County Museum of Art has studied Mr. Hearst’s collections extensively. She credits him to have been the most outstanding Collector in America of European Sculpture, tapestries, silver and armor.
Janice and Ms. Levkoff at the Book Signing
Mary Levkoff shared with us her process, pouring over old interior photographs, to discover which outstanding pieces of his collection are now dispersed in museums throughout the world.
Perhaps I’ll have a long weekend this summer to enjoy the home of only a small portion of his collection at the Casa Grande, San Simeon, the Hearst Castle, designed by Julia Morgan for him. For over thirty years she collaborated with him on his castle on the Enchanted Hill.
Julia Morgan has been an inspirational talent in my design career since I was given the amazing opportunity to work on a project at the one and only Julia Morgan design house in Sacramento in 2000. The gorgeous historic home designed in 1918 breathes nostalgia back into Sacramento, has been owned by Sacramento State University since the 1960’s. Through research I knew the pioneering spirit of Julia Morgan. She was the first female licensed architect in California and she achieved this by receiving a degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she was the first female admitted as well. I thought it only fitting to pay homage to this remarkable woman by making a pilgrimage through the streets of Paris to see the school she attended and the places she lived.
During Julia’s five years in Paris she inhabited three apartments throughout the 6th androssiment. The first apartment was located at 4 Rue de la Chevereuse. The crisp white of the facade is contrasted by the large black paneled doors of the entry. Today the building is used as a satellite of Columbia University and works to establish partnerships between America and European scholars. During Julia Morgan’s time the building housed American students pursuing their degrees in Paris.
Julia’s second apartment was located at 7 Rue Honore Chevalier. This building which was constructed in 1891 would have been less than a decade old when Julia Morgan lived in it. The rustic brick mixed with iron work exemplifies classic French architecture.
The third apartment Julia lived in was 15 Rue Guenegaud. The high gloss rich emerald green doors are flanked by tiny boutiques on the street level with apartments on the three floors above. This apartment is the closest to the school of the three and is within close proximity to La Siene river. I imagine this was Julia’s most treasured apartment during her stay in Paris.
After leaving Julia’s third apartment I journeyed to Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts where Julia received her degree in Architecture. Just beyond the gates to the school you are greeted by ancient architectural ruins displayed in the courtyard.
The grand courtyard transitions students and guests from the street and into the glass ceiling space of an interior courtyard.
The colors and motifs of this space are inspired by Pompeian architecture.
As I was walking up to the front gate of the school I was delighted to see three architecture students, two of which female, with projects in tow. I talked briefly with these students and was truly inspired to see young and eager designers pursuing their passions.
My adventurous spirit was stimulated as I followed in the footsteps of the inspirational talent, Julia Morgan. With Julia Morgan’s legacy of over 700 designed buildings in California and her treasured design located on our T St. here in Sacramento, her designs will be forever remembered as harmoniously classic architecture.
“My buildings will speak for themselves” Julia Morgan