As London celebrates, will New York destroy?

The threat posed to the Frick Collection is not a cause for concern solely among New Yorkers. As a world-class institution, the Frick is respected and beloved the world over. It is no surprise, then, that the international press continues to cover the destructive expansion plan proposed by the museum.

The latest international coverage comes out of Italy, where Il Giornale dell’Arte (The Art Newspaper) makes the powerful and troubling juxtaposition between two cities — New York and London — and how they regard the legacy of one of the world’s greatest-ever landscape architects, Russell Page.

Il Giornale dell’Arte, based in Turin, Italy, is a monthly newspaper founded in 1983 with a circulation of more than 20,000 and focusing exclusively on current events in the art world. The translation of the article is below; click here to read the original Italian version


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While London celebrates Russell Page, New York is destroying Frick’s garden

By Giovanni Pellinghelli of Monticello, online edition
4 March 2015


The Garden Museum of London is celebrating by putting on the exhibit “The Education of a Gardener: The Life and Work of Russell Page (1906-1985),” from 25 March to 21 June, one of the most celebrated landscape architects of the 1900s.

Russell Page was first trained at the Slade School of Fine Art at London University (1924-26,) a student of Henry Tonks (who opened the door to impressionists in England and was a friend and mentor of Whistler and Sargent), and then later in Paris from 1927 to 1932. This training is clear in his landscape architecture, in which geometry and harmony merge into an essentially vivid vision.

The exhibition, the first retrospective of Page’s work, includes over 50 paintings, photographs and drawings from the private archives of Russell Page, from the Royal Horticultural Society’s collection and from public and private collections in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe. Russell Page’s works were always divided between Great Britain (where he carried out his first important work in 1930 , the gardens of Longleat House for the 6th Marquess of Bath), the United States and Europe, working for what was then called Café Society and then later for the jet set: from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to King Leopold III of Belgium to Maria Odescalchi Samminiatelli, from French industrialist Marcel Boussac (owner of the House of Christian Dior among others) to American designer Oscar de la Renta.

He also worked a great deal in Italy, where in the 1950s – 1960s,  he created the Botanical Garden of the Tenuta di San Liberato in Bracciano, the Villa Gazzoni Garden in Bologna, the Villa Silvio Pellico Garden in Moncalieri (which the exhibit declares as being the best landscape designed by Page outside of England), Villa d’Agliè Garden  in Turin, Landriana Park in  Tor San Lorenzo (Rome) and the gardens of the villa-museum La Mortella in Ischia, requested by his friend Sir William Walton, one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.

Other notable projects include the general headquarters of PepsiCo in Purchase (New York), the gardens of Leeds Castle, commissioned by its last private owner Lady Baillie – Anglo-American heiress Olivia Paget – the National Capitol Columns at Washington’s United States National Arboretum and the garden at the Frick Collection in New York. This is the garden that next June, according to plans approved by the museum’s board,  is set to be razed to expand building space unless the petition launched by public opinion can save it.

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