Design World Fun Facts
Updated: Feb 11
(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)
Today I’m stepping away from the rigorous topics of remodeling, space planning and furnishings to a lighter side of art and design. I don’t know how factual these fun “facts” really are but here are a few hearsay musings from around the world:
A woman strolling along a street in Paris spotted Picasso sketching near a sidewalk cafe. Not so thrilled that she couldn’t be slightly presumptuous, the woman asked Picasso if he might sketch her and charge accordingly. Picasso obliged. In just minutes, there she was - as an original Picasso. When asked what she owed him, Picasso answered, “Five thousand francs” (about $5000 U.S.) “But it only took you three minutes,” she politely reminded him. “No” he said. “It took me all my life”.
In 1292, a proclamation went out in Venice that all glass masters were to move to the island of Murano. But unknown to them, they were instead to be held captive so that Venice could protect the secret glass formulae. Some escaped to the courts of the Medici in Florence and some found their way to Piegaro, Umbria.
Dorothy May Kinnicutt (1910-1994), better known in the design world as “Sister Parish”, became an interior designer during the Great Depression to assist in the family finances when her investment banker husband fell onto hard times. She created the style known as “American Country”.
Sister Parish’s claim to fame didn't occur until 1960 when Jacqueline Kennedy asked her to “do” the White House and a newspaper headline proclaimed: ''Kennedy's Pick Nun to Decorate White House.'' The confusion was inevitable but the results were professionally stunning. However, Sister Parish and Jackie broke off their long-standing relationship over money and Jackie's belief that not everything had to be paid for.
Frank Lloyd Wright was renowned during his life not only as an architectural genius but also as a subject of controversy from his radical design innovations to his turbulent private life, including a notorious mass murder that occurred at his Wisconsin estate, Taliesin, in 1914. But the estate also gave rise to one of the most fascinating and provocative experiments in American cultural history: the Taliesin Fellowship, an extraordinary architectural colony where Wright trained hundreds of devoted apprentices and where all of his late masterpieces—Fallingwater, Johnson Wax, the Guggenheim Museum—were born.
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