Sunday, October 7, 2012

Denver's Molly Brown and Vance Kirkland Museums~ St John of the Wilderness

"To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and commonsense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams."
-Giorgio DeChirico


Markets crash. Sometimes with the help of the government. This home by architect William Lang was originally built in the 1880's for  a couple who got caught up in the 1893 financial crisis. 3 years prior our government had designed a financial program meant to help farmers. It was known as the Sherman Silver  Purchase Act. Unfortunately, 3 years later the government was facing The Law of Unintended Consequences. Banker JP Morgan put together a consortium that did not rescue the architect, who met a bad end, or original owners of the home. It did, however, staved off bankruptcy of the United States government.   

The new owner, JJ Brown is best known for being married to Margaret "The Unsinkable Molly" Brown. Tall with flaming red hair and a killer wardrobe with some dresses reputed to cost as much as her 7,500 square foot home- $30,000.
This postcard is sold here

 "The House of Lions", the home was lavishly decorated as well as featuring the latest accoutrements of the day: electricity, steam heating, indoor plumbing (the only bathroom with hot and cold running water is on the third floor) and telephones.

All this brick and stone. A spot of verbena and agastache are the smiling counterpoint cheering up  stern architecture.

At the Sam Maloof Home and Gardens near where I live, there was a brochure recommending the historic homes of notable artists. One mentioned is the Vance Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Arts. It turned out to be really handy as it is directly behind the Molly Brown House and Museum.

Get ready to be wowed!  This museum is FUN.

 In the center courtyard of the late Colorado artist Vance Kirkland's home and studio, found objects, welded and braised metal and rubber were turned into the skeletal sculptures of The Saxophonist, String  Instrumentalist and Flute Player with Corn Row Hair by Bob Ragland, the non-starving artist. 

William Long created these fabulous vases  where aquatic life grows and swims through waves expressed in matte glazes.

A small corner of  "The Illusion of Floating Mysteries in Blue Space" ...Vance Kirkland worked in many styles over the course of his career. One of popular techniques is known as dot. How exactly do you get dots evenly over a large canvas?

You suspend yourself over a table with straps.

This is just a small sampling of the salon style galleries where useful art- such as Frank Lloyd Wright chairs- are set in vignettes abundant with sculpture, painting and all manner of decorative arts. We leave the Kirkland museum with random shots from my visit. Reminders that art is everywhere.

It was time to head to the airport. But not without stopping at a church. St John's In the Wilderness was not the building I was seeking, but I am not going to say it is the wrong church. Just the one I found when I was lost.

It had a garden with roses

A vegetable plot with the most ingeniously painted compost container.

The wonderment of flying buttresses 

 The long hall lined with 2 stories of stained glass windows.

An organ in the front. An organ in the rear. A piano. Accompaniment,  I am certain, for every angel in heaven. I read recently that people have styles where worship is most natural. Amidst this man-made grandeur with promises of orchestral chorus, such a setting is where my heart is at home.

I suppose there was time to fit in one more attraction. But when one has sat in the presence of the Almighty God- that is when it is time to stop.

Top image courtesy of Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

And now the end of the perfect trip for me. Was so waiting to hear about the Molly Brown home. Boy, $30K for a dress back then? I'm so shocked! I guess she really went off the deep end in more ways than water! LOL

Judy in Seal Beach.

nikkipolani said...

Boy, that would've been something to see Kirkland suspended over his canvas. So many kinds of art to capture your eye and temptation to touch.

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I REALLY love that first quote. What a wonderful thing to say!

And what a great trip! I would so love to have been there!


Lydia said...

Dear Judy- She wasn't shy about wanting to marry for money. She took a chance on JJ- and guess if he didn't believe her before, once he hit the motherlode, he knew she was serious.
Nikki- It was absolutely fascinating museum. VERY glad to have gone.
Sarah- Thank you. I wish you could take a trip. If you are ever in the states- we live between Disneyland and Beverly Hills):-

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