It has been a crazy few weeks at the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research – we mounted our two exhibitions at the Cranbrook Art Museum and helped CAM celebrate the opening of the summer museum season with the blockbuster Michigan Modern show. What that means now is that we’ve all got celebratory parties and vacation on the brain, and what better way to celebrate a museum success than with evidence of the parties of the past?
This photo, taken in March of 1942, captures Harry Bertoia (far right) and Brigitta Valentiner (middle) with an unidentified student (left, and conveniently marked by a Joker card costume). These three costumed young people are attending the “Come as a Song” party, one of the many themed get-togethers hosted at the Academy in the mid-century period.
Harry Bertoia, of course, went on to become a sculptor and furniture designer. Two years after this photo was taken, Harry and Brigitta Valentiner, dressed here as a young maid, married. A Detroit native and a published author, Valentiner was the daughter of Wilhelm Valentiner, the Detroit Institute of Art’s legendary director from 1924 to 1945.