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If Henry and Mary Lily Flagler were to walk into their music room at Whitehall today, they would feel right at home.

That’s saying a lot, considering that Whitehall, finished in 1902, has withstood more than a century of weather and wear. To reverse the inescapable ravages of time, the Flaglers’ Beaux-Arts mansion has undergone an extensive 15-year conservation effort.

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It was the Roaring Twenties. Women bobbed their hair and hiked their skirts, and an estimated 100,000 speakeasies flourished in New York City in the face of Prohibition. Yet there was an oasis of calm: Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park. Overlooking the leafy landscape on the Upper East Side, the private homes of the privileged rose with the stock market and multiplied into elegant neighborhoods. In 1926, a small residence hotel with a Beaux-Arts façade opened at 20 East 76th Street and seamlessly blended into the neighborhood. The Surrey was luxurious and discreet; qualities movie actresses Claudette Colbert and Bette Davis and other celebrities appreciated. Later, John F. Kennedy made the popular residence his home in the city.

But by the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Surrey had lost its luster, until new owners launched a $60 million, 14-month-long renovation. Debuted in 2009, the aura of the 17-story, 190-room hotel‘s historic past remains intact, but interior designer Lauren Rottet has added a contemporary flair, helped along by the installation of thirty-one original works by international artists...

Continue reading this article about the Surrey Hotel, which was reinvigorated by the leading interior designer Lauren Rottet, on

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Sotheby’s New York will host two highly-anticipated design auctions this week. “The Jon Stryker Collection: Masterworks of European Modernism,” will take place on Tuesday, December 16, followed by the “Important 20th Century Design” sale on Wednesday, December 17.

“Masterworks of European Modernism” will feature works from the collection of Jon Stryker -- an American architect, philanthropist, and activist. In 2002, Stryker teamed up with Peter Shelton and Lee Mindel of the New York-based architecture and interior design firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates to renovate his former apartment at the “Prasada,” a Beaux-Arts luxury apartment building overlooking Central Park in Manhattan. With help from Shelton and Mindel, Stryker created a stylish and modern space within the historic building to showcase his collection of European and Scandinavian twentieth-century design and photography.

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Thursday, 09 October 2014 11:21

New Textile Museum to Open in Washington, D.C.

George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC, is beefing up its arts infrastructure. Less than two months after the university finalised its merger with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the GW Museum and the Textile Museum announced they will open a joint facility on the university’s Foggy Bottom campus on 21 March 2015.

The museum is set to occupy both the Maxwell Woodhull House, a historic former home of a US Navy commander, and a 35,000 sq. ft addition designed by the local firm Hartman-Cox Architects. Since the university finalized its merger with the Corcoran in August, it has also assumed operations of the gallery’s Beaux-Arts building near the White House.

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The controversial merger between the Corcoran Gallery of Art, George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art, all in Washington, DC, has received the green light from the district’s Superior Court. In a ruling on Monday 18 August, Judge Robert Okun called the decision “painful,” but concluded that it would be “even more painful to deny the relief requested and allow the Corcoran to face its likely demise.”

Under the terms of the agreement, first announced in February 2014, the beleaguered Corcoran will transfer its historic Beaux-Arts building and its College of Art + Design to George Washington University. The National Gallery of Art will take over a substantial portion of the Corcoran’s 17,000-work collection, which includes paintings by John Singer Sargent and Frederic Edwin Church as well as celebrated photography holdings.

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It’s time again to thank Messrs. ­Carnegie, Frick, Warburg, Vanderbilt, Morgan & Co. The plutocrats of the last Gilded Age left us unfathomable architectural treasures that we cherish and fight over but are still not sure how to care for. They erected houses, museums, and libraries in the form of temples and Renaissance palazzos, great hunks of ornate stone, carved wood, and intricate parquet, anthologies of precious materials and medieval craft. Some have been lost; touch what’s left and we get angry, alter them and we despair. As Manhattan keeps remaking itself, one shuttered shoe-repair store and vanished brownstone at a time, these ornate piles endure—the Frick, the Cooper Hewitt, the Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum, each with its tribe of passionate loyalists.

None of them is pristine. From the beginning, they experienced decades of fitful renovation, and their occupants still keep bursting through walls. There’s never enough space. Some institutions wear their history more lightly, or have the luxury of starting fresh.

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One of the nation’s oldest museums, known for its daring contemporary art exhibitions next to the White House and for its financial troubles, is being taken over by two larger institutions and will soon close for renovations.

Under an agreement signed Thursday, the long-struggling Corcoran Gallery of Art and its College of Art and Design will merge with George Washington University and the federally funded National Gallery of Art.

The three sides agreed the Corcoran will close around Oct. 1 for an undetermined amount of time and undergo renovations. When it reopens, it will offer free admission like the National Gallery’s other buildings on the National Mall.

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According to a plan announced on Wednesday, February 19, Washington, D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art could hand over its vast, 17,000-piece collection to the government-backed National Gallery of Art. Under the proposed plan, George Washington University would assume control of the Corcoran’s historic Beaux-Arts building as well as the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

The proposal aims to keep the Corcoran open to the public and its collection, which features works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Willem de Kooning, would remain in public institutions. The National Gallery would present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the Corcoran under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art. It would also oversee the Corcoran Legacy Gallery, which would present a selection of works from the Corcoran’s collection.

The Corcoran, the largest privately supported art museum in the country, opened to the public in 1897. The museum has been struggling financially for years and is in need of considerable renovations.

A decision regarding the proposal is expected to be made in April.

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