By the Numbers: Cranbrook Center 2016

As this year comes to a close, the Center for Collections and Research has done some number crunching on 2016. Below, you’ll find information on visitors and events supported by the Center throughout the year. While we’re proud of our overall growth as a division of the Cranbrook Educational Community, we like to keep in mind that each number counted represents an individual person who’s had the opportunity to explore Cranbrook’s architecture or collections in depth and hopefully engage in meaningful ways with our history and legacy.

It’s been a fantastic year for the Center, and we’re excited about what’s on the drawing board for 2017. We hope to see you at future events (make sure you’re on our email list by contacting us) and hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year!

Archives

›› Responded to 803 unique requests from national and international users, including 439 email and 42 phone inquiries, 181 researchers in the Reading Room, and 141 group visitors
›› Responded to 578 unique requests from Cranbrook faculty and staff

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Friends of the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives tour Cranbrook Archives, Sept. 2016

Tours

›› Offered 103 public Saarinen House Tours (in collaboration with Cranbrook Art Museum) to 584 visitors (April through October 2016) and provided 27 private tours for 124 visitors
›› Gave 48 public tours (20 sold out) to 387 visitors (April through October 2016) and provided 12 private tours for 132 visitors to the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House (in collaboration with the Towbes Foundation)
›› Crafted custom campus tours for 392 visitors (April through October 2016)
›› Welcomed national and international conference attendees with groups sponsored by LaFargeHolcim Company, Switzerland; A4LE; the Congress for New Urbanism; and DoCoMoMo-US Day Away Tours
›› Led two sold-out Pewabic Pottery focused tours to Detroit (May and June
2016)
›› Led an Albert Kahn-themed tour to the University of Michigan (October 2016)
›› Engaged 195 guests Pewabic Pottery Walking Tours of the Cranbrook Campus

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Pewabic Pottery Walking Tour preparing to enter Saarinen House, Aug. 2016

Exhibitions

›› Presented Designs of the Times: 100 Years of Posters at Cranbrook (December 2015 through March 2016)
›› Organized Simple Forms, Stunning Glazes: The Gerald W. McNeely Collection of Pewabic Pottery in collaboration with Cranbrook Art Museum (December 2015 through August 2016)
›› Engaged 192 people at the opening and 18,827 people during the run of the Pewabic exhibition

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Simple Forms, Stunning Glazes in the lower level of the Cranbrook Art Museum, Dec.-Aug. 2016

Lectures & Events

›› Two historians and two artists, including Roberto Lugo from Vermont, spoke about the legacy of Pewabic Pottery to 65 people (February 2016)
›› Kendall Brown spoke about Japanese style gardens in America to 186 people (April 2016)
›› Crafted an “Edible Landscape” dinner for 63 guests with Gold Cash Gold that celebrated the centennial of the first performance in Cranbrook’s Greek Theatre (June 2016)
›› Premiered PBS’ newest American Master’s film Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future to 219 guests in deSalle Auditorium
›› 11 experts presented the Preserving Michigan Modern lecture series, in collaboration with the State Historic Preservation Office, to a total of 375 people (October and November 2016)
›› Celebrated the North American launch of the book Millesgården: The Home and Art of Carl Milles with a violin and piano concert of works by Beethoven, attracting 60 guests on a very snowy Sunday (December 2016)

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The red carpet and searchlights for the film premiere of Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future, Sept. 2016

-Jody Helme-Day, Administrative Assistant and Kevin Adkisson, Center Collections Fellow

A Portrait Comes Home to Cranbrook House

The portrait of Clara Gagnier Booth, mother of Cranbrook founder George Gough Booth, has been mounted in the Oak Room at Cranbrook House. This painting is on long-term loan to Cranbrook from the Saginaw Art Museum, which acquired the painting through a donation from Clara Booth’s grandson, John Lord Booth I.

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Conservation in-progress, April 2013 by Kenneth B. Katz, Conservation and Museum Services.

After receiving conservation treatment and a new frame, this painting of Clara Booth will accompany that of her husband, Henry Wood Booth, as well as their son George, his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, and Ellen’s father James Edmund Scripps. Financial support from John Lord Booth II affords this opportunity to join the painting of the Booth family matriarch with those of her relatives at Cranbrook House.

The artwork was painted in 1918 by Russian-born artist Ossip Perelma, known particularly for his portraits of men of stature such as President Woodrow Wilson, King Albert I of Belgium, and several Russian and French political officials. Perelma also executed the stately portrait of Henry Wood Booth, currently on view in the Oak Room.

Demure in size and executed with soft and fluid brush strokes, Clara Booth’s portrait contrasts with that of her husband. While Henry is depicted in full length in an outdoor background, his wife is shown only by profile, with just the upper half of her torso included in the composition. The stylistic distinction between Clara’s portrait and that of her husband—and indeed many of Perelma’s other subjects—emphasizes the differing approach Perelma took to depicting a woman.

In the early twentieth century, even women of position, beauty, and culture were often removed from public view after their role as wife and mother was fulfilled, and their youth had faded. This portrait was painted when Clara Booth was 79, and it is notable that Perelma chose not to conceal his subject’s age. Indeed, the portrait is a rare and significant example of art providing legitimacy and prestige to a woman who remained elegant and strong as she reached an age when most women no longer had a public presence or were being immortalized by artists.

Both portraits, Clara Gagnier Booth and Henry Wood Booth, will be available for viewing when Cranbrook House opens for public tours on Sunday June 14th! For more information on the tours check out the Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxillary website.

Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton, Collections Fellow, Center for Collections and Research

Dispatch from the Archives: “Gatescapes,” Old and New

On October 5, Cranbrook Archives will be opening its second exhibition in the From the Archives series.  From the Archives: Forging Cranbrook’s Gatescape explores the long-lasting significance of gates to Cranbrook’s campus.  Points of transition and transformation, the gates have also long stood as a public display of Cranbrook’s dedication to art and design.

George Gough Booth sketch for a gate.  George Gough Booth Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

George Gough Booth sketch for a gate. George Gough Booth Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

Cranbrook’s love of gates originates with its founding father, George Gough Booth.  Booth, who came from a family of copper and tin metal workers, received early training at the Red Foundry in Ontario, Canada.  This, in part, led to his 1884 purchase of Barnum Wire and Iron Works in Windsor, Ontario with partner Fred Evans.  Booth wrote, “I conceived the idea of creating a new type of industry – selling with my pencil and not so much out of a catalogue – making special designs for fences, signs, bank counter railings…”   One of the earliest gates at Cranbrook designed by George Booth (and fabricated by Detroit Architectural Iron Works in 1916) is the first public gate located at the entrance to the Greek Theatre.

    Greek Theatre gates, designed by George Booth and produced by the Detroit Architectural Iron Works. 1916.

Greek Theatre gates, designed by George Booth and produced by the Detroit Architectural Iron Works. 1916.

Since Booth’s inception of Cranbrook, the community has steadily expanded the campus’ “gatescape.”  The most recent gates installed on campus are the “Valley Way” entrance gates (2012), designed by Architect-in-Residence William Massie.  Located at what was formerly known as the Vaughan Road Entrance, the gates were part of a project which widened the roadway to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety.  Working with Brian Oltrogge, Massie designed an abstraction of geometric triangles, a reference to Eliel Saarinen’s Kingswood gates.   The new gates were fabricated of laser-cut and bent steel.  The hand-bent “infill” was bolted to the steel frame and welded by Jody Cooper, Academy of Art alumni (Architecture Department 2012).

Closeup of Valley Way entrance gates, designed by Cranbrook Academy of Art Architect-in-Residence William Massie. The gates were completed in 2012.

Closeup of Valley Way entrance gates, designed by Cranbrook Academy of Art Architect-in-Residence William Massie. The gates were completed in 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition opening, I’m going to be leading a walking and bus tour of the gates on Saturday, October 5.  We’ll be exploring all aspects of the gates, from their history in situ to the designers and makers who produced them.  Be sure to sign up here to join us, and get ready to delve deep into Cranbrook’s “gatescape”!

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

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