Monday, March 7, 2011

Vizcaya: The pool

Last week, in my post on Vizcaya's bayside facade, I mentioned the pool which ingeniusly slips into the house for access and shelter.The Swan was kind enough to remind us that the pool's grotto has a ceiling which was painted by the artist Robert Winthrop Chanler.Chanler, like others involved with the project, received his education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Deering hired him to work on an 'under sea' fantasy fresco to decorate the interior of the pool grotto.
The exterior access to the pool is via flanking coral limestone staircases that matches the rest of the house's stone.
Interior access to the pool was via the lower level through 2 sets of french stained glass doors. These doors are adjacent to held Deering's smoking room (soon to be a giftshop) as well as a bowling alley (soon to be cafe)!
The ceiling was first sculpted of Gesso and painted while still wet to result in the fresco we see today. The floors are marble and echo others seen throughout the house. Notice the lovely bronze guardrails.Moulded seashells and other sea life decorate the scenes.The painting has not weathered the humidity nor the occasional hurricane damage well but the effect is still lovely. Imagine how lucky Deering's guests felt to be taking a dip here!

17 comments:

Divine Theatre said...

The reason I rarely post anything on your blog is that I am left speechless.
Just...wow...

The Down East Dilettante said...

I second the speechless. Vizcaya makes so many other efforts of its era seem just incomplete and tawdry by comparison.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Divine - well thank you! I like hearing those comments though!
Dilettante - I can't agree with you more. This is my favorite era of houses and this is probably the most amazing and detailed I've ever seen. Nothing was overlooked -not even the pool's ceiling!

The Devoted Classicist said...

I am glad you came back to the pool, one of my favorites ever. You had posted so many photos on other features that I was afraid you had somehow missed the grotto shelter on your tour. During my history of visitation, those spaces had already been converted to a banal gift shop and cafeteria years ago, just in case a reader was thinking an act of vandalism was about to take place.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Devoted -lots more to come -the whole interiors! The lower level was just renovated after some hurricane flood damage and is about to reopen. It's pretty basic but nice enough. The gift shop / former smoking room, is actually pretty well done if not completely historically accurate. I have a feeling the basement had already been gutted and they didn't have much to work with, other than an antique fireplace.

The Swan said...

I am so happy you posted this on the ceiling work by Chanler, a man who lived large and worked amongst the Wealthiest of Americans from the bygone era of Palatial Building. We own a beautiful screen of Birds of Paradise of Gesso painted with Enamel on White Gold leaf he created for his daughter, purchased from his granddaughters' son. I cherish it.

Imagine floating face up and looking at that undersea world. Heaven. If I recall, Vizcaya has a Screen as well painted for the Room upstairs with the beautiful Iron Gilt gates at the doorway from the Pisani family.

Long ago, the Cafe/Gift shop were run by a family from Northern Italy, the Balsano region...and their food was good and the jewelry rather was period gold set with precious stones. The setting rather like a worn trattatoria.

Please forgive me if I intrude with little bits of forgotten tidbits of history...but you are a kindred Soul!!!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Swan - please keep the comments and info coming; I'm learning more from you than from my tour!

sandrajonas.com said...

Stefan, OUTSTANDING!!

Kwana said...

That is just amazing. I can well imagine dipping my toes.

The Sidekick said...

This is beyond lovely. I visited Vizcaya a number of years ago on the recommendation of Downeast Dilettante and enjoyed it very much but this part of the house was not open. Thank you so much for the tour of this amazing space!

quintessence said...

SO glad you came back to the pool - for some reason, I'm rather obsessed with it. So fabulous!! Can you imagine how incredibly beautiful it must have been with the Chanler ceiling? Like an exquisite dream!

home before dark said...

I drowning here, AD!

Robert.Webber said...

This is just so neat!
Good links between house and garden are vital and to do it with another medium is genius!
Thanks for this
Best
R

architect melbourne said...

The ceiling work is so rich and it says all about your experience and knowledge it is an amazing art work.

theresa clare said...

I love this post! I wish it was possible for your photos to be bigger. I love them!

Janet said...

The ceiling is just brilliant. The whole space glows! It reminds me of the Blue Lagoon in Capri.

Karena said...

I cannot get over this it is stunning, the groin ceilings, that sconce....I could go on forver!

Xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena