Wednesday May 17th

Randy Juster, Sacramento Art Deco Society

Until recently, the Lawson Time Company, a small California-based manufacturer of digital Art Deco clocks, was thought to have disappeared in the 1930s. In fact, the company was still making the same streamlined Art Deco clocks in the 1980s. Another recent revelation is that the cases of these clocks, thought to be the work of designer Kem Weber, were actually the work of two people: George Adomatis, a native of Cleveland, and someone named “Ferher,” who is believed to be Paul Feher, the renowned designer who worked for Cleveland’s Rose Iron Works before moving to Los Angeles. The Lawson story is filled with twists and turns, and paints a fascinating picture of small-scale American manufacturing and the enduring popularity of streamline Moderne design. The real stars of this presentation, however, are the clocks themselves and the artistry and craftsmanship they display. Photographer Randy Juster has collected photos of over 100 different Lawson models.

Julie Faure, Paris Art Deco Society

Jacque-Emile Ruhlmann, one of the most emblematic Art Deco designers, has retained widespread fame for his furniture, but his significant contribution to the design and decoration of theatres, music halls, and other such venues is less known. Despite Ruhlmann’s reputation, we are surprised at the lack of preservation of his work in these venues. What is even worse, some have been destroyed. This leads to the following questions: why do some persist, while others sink into oblivion? Should we consider that all Art Deco decorations are inherently at risk, being subjected to the whims of owners, changes of fashion, and technical progress? Or is this a mere effect of the lack of interest in Art Deco, and a relatively long-standing lack of awareness among the professionals in charge of heritage preservation? The sites have not been the subject of a heritage inventory. A few are protected, others have disappeared, and others are in a perilous state. Julie Faure, an art historian and researcher at the Patrimoines et Inventaire service of the Ile-de-France Region, is currently conducting an inventory of theaters (1920-1940) to contribute to the knowledge and preservation of these buildings, and especially their decoration, which has a major relevance to the history of Art Deco.

10825 East Boulevard
John Hay House (1910) Architect: Abram Garfield. Hanna House (1918) Architect: Walker & Gillette.

The complex consists of a pair of large historic residences in the Second Renaissance Revival style, connected by newer Museum wings. We will receive a brief introduction to the layout and highlights of the collection, then delegates can explore on their own. Be sure to see the Art Deco Ferro Mural—the largest porcelain enamel mural in the world–made in Cleveland and exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. There is also an outstanding collection of antique automobiles, since Cleveland played a major role in the development of the “horseless carriage.” Finally, you can also ride the restored Euclid Beach Carousel.

The museum has an outstanding costume collection, and a special exhibit “Wow Factor: 150 years of Collecting Bold Clothes” showcases some of the finest pieces. Another special exhibit is dedicated to Cleveland’s favorite son: “Bob Hope: An American Treasure.”

3300 Mayfield Road
Architect: Eric Mendelsohn

Park Synagogue would be Mendelsohn’s first American synagogue commission, although he would go on to design a total of four synagogues in the US. The centerpiece is a vast hemispheric temple dome: 125 feet (38.1 meters) high, 120 feet (36.6 meters) in diameter, and waiting 680 tons (616,885 kilograms.) It was the third largest dome in the world at the time of construction. Mendelsohn had an illustrious career in Europe, before moving overseas to escape Nazi Germany. He is well-known for his Expressionist-style department stores in several German cities, and the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany.

24400 Cedar Road
Architect: Abram Garfield. Mural artist: June Platt

The Hangar was built as part of the Dudley S. Blossom State as a private sports facility. A place where family and friends could swim and play tennis indoors all year-round––and avoid harsh Cleveland winters. The plain stucco exterior evokes Art Moderne. But inside is a lush Art Deco interior: a vivid sea-themed mural, metalwork by Rose Iron Works (Paul Feher design,) and ceramic doorknobs by Cowan Pottery with an Alice and Wonderland theme.

11150 East Boulevard
Architects: Hubbell & Benes. Additions by Marcel Breuer (1971) and Rafael Vinoly (2009-2014)

This internationally renowned collection focuses on quality over quantity, and is usually listed as among the top five comprehensive art museums in the US. Generally, what you see here is the very best. The museum recently completed a $350 million expansion, which is the most money ever spent by an Ohio cultural institution. Founded on the motto: “For the benefit of all people, forever” it’s among the last of the major American art museums with free admission for the regular collection.

Area around Euclid Avenue between Cornell Avenue and East 120th Street

This area has been revitalized in the last few years with new apartment buildings by architect Stanley Seitowitz, expansion of the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the addition of the striking Museum of Contemporary Art by Farshid Moussavi. Nearby is the Frank-Gehry designed Peter B. Lewis building, which houses the Weatherhead School of Management.

Area around Mayfield Road between East 120th and East 126th Streets.

This area was originally settled by Italian immigrants, stonecutters and sculptors who created monuments for the nearby Lakeview Cemetery.