More from "Dead End Gene Pool"7:28 AM Mon, Feb 07, 2011 | Permalink
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Two Vanderbilt mansions on Fifth Avenue, circa 1885, since demolished and apparently neither contain the apartment referred to below
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After reading the review I got the book, hoping that other gems would be littered among the paragraphs. And they are, in abundance. I will share those having to do with architecture.
So there is this:
My grandfather was a busy man. In addition to heading up the family venture capital company that bore his name, he was an expert aviation consultant to the government, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations, and on the boards of a dozen relevant companies. He was a thoroughly modern man: he collected modern art, he lived in a modern apartment, he weekended and summered in modern houses, and, to his profound satisfaction, he was president of the Mumsum of Modern art.
But wait! There's more. That paragraph continues:
Against the starkness of the huge rooms, long stripped of their prewar moldings and parquet, the walls bone white and the floors alabaster, art provided animation. Calder mobiles spun from the ceilings. Naked African sculptures posed in corners next to fluid marbles by Arp. What seemed like acres of wall space were hung with abstracts by Klee, Kline, Mondrian, and Miro; and figurative works by Leger, Bacon, Picasso, Matisse, and Seurat. A monolithic Brancusi bronze loomed over a black thirty-foot pond set into the pale marble concourse that ran the length of the apartment. A school of anemic goldfish lapped the pond's three-inch depths, regularly driven to suicide by the absence of plastic pirate treasure and aqua-colored gravel.
The goldfish driven to suicide were, for me, worth the price of admission to this fine memoir of a Vanderbilt heiress, who is two years younger than I am. She recalls many things from her childhood that I recall from mine, minus the opulence of course. I will continue to quote, but the book itself can be had by visiting here.