Photographs by: Ognan Borissov, Interfoto
The following two lots of wall panelling were designed by Greene & Greene for the entry hall of the James Culbertson House, located at 235 North Grand Avenue, in Pasadena, California.
James Culbertson (1854-1915), a Chicago-based lumber executive, originally commissioned the Greene brothers to build a winter residence for him in 1902. Culbertson was a cultivated and artistically sensitive patron, well aware of the Arts & Crafts movement and its philosophy, and he discovered in the Greenes an architectural team with a similar appreciation of hand workmanship and beautifully finished detail.
After 1902, and until the time of his death in 1915, Mr. Culbertson continued to make changes and additions to the house with the help of the Greenes. In 1907, Culbertson commissioned an expansion of the house which included the entry hall being offered here. A striking feature of the Culbertson's remodeled house was the use of mottos declaring the virtues of the home. In addition to the carved motto in the entry hall, "The Glory of the House is Hospitality", the entrance to the house was carved with the motto "The Blessing of the House is Contentment", and the dining room with the motto "The Beauty of the House is Order".
In the 1950s, Culbertson's nephew, William Dunn, decided to modernize the Arts & Crafts style house by removing the second floor and drastically altering the first. Fortunately, the entry hall panelling was salvaged by Frank Springer, an L.A. County Department of Justice clerk and an inveterate collector of architectural elements, who built his own 1950s ranch style house around them, preserving them to this day.
The 1907 entry hall wall panelling offered here has been widely illustrated as an important example of the Greene's work at the height of their career together. These walls capture the basic tenets of the Arts & Crafts movement, both in the sentiments conveyed in the carved motto and in the way the natural grain of the indigenous redwood panels has partially dictated the finely detailed and tinted carved decoration. The beautiful and unique panelling represented here is some of the most admired work ever produced by the Greenes. Due to the stringent historic preservation statutes now in place, it is highly unlikely that any hand-carved panelling such as this, much less a room by the Greenes, will ever again be available in the marketplace.
Post Lot Text
This lot is sold subject to no return. Bidders are advised to measure the panels in order to satisfy themselves as to their sizes. Christie's does not guarantee that the panels will complete a room.