Posts Tagged ‘art’

the hunt for irving

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Quick note… David and I have been emailing back and forth with Jane Ingall, wife of Irving Haynes, the architect of our house as you may recall. We love his artwork and the idea of bringing a painting into the home he built, if such a thing is available. And if we can afford it.

So far, the word is good. Jane says there’s work to look at. Yay! And a few days ago she let us know that she added a few of his pieces to Adam Tamsky Fine Art in Providence. We zipped over there right away…

Adam Tamsky pulls out a Haynes painting

That’s Adam. He’s easy to talk to and chock full of information. We’ll probably take a look at a few more Haynes paintings before we decide.

Side note: interesting modern bench by BILT at Adam Tamsky’s gallery…

BILT bench

Funny. I’ve already posted about those guys two other times in the past week. Sometimes I forget how small Providence is.

Expect a return to How Green Is My Brain Week shortly…

one perfect thing

Friday, February 5th, 2010

mcvitty sculpture

Have I mentioned this house is complete chaos? Yeah, I think I covered that. On the other hand, I can still spot a few things I really love in the maelstrom. This would be one of them…

What is it? Steel sculpture made from found scrap metal.

Where did it come from? David’s grandfather, John D. McVitty (fondly known as Mackie), came across it by the town dock in Stonington, CT, and had it welded to a matching base. voila! art!

Circa? Nobody knows for sure.

Interesting tidbit: Mackie was a contemporary of a few names you might know… like artist Alexander Calder, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius and modernist master Marcel Breuer. He knew these people. The mind reels. He studied architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and then moved over to MIT to pursue naval architecture.

Found a photo from 1947 in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art of Mackie’s first wife Joan hanging out with Calder and Breuer’s wife. You can’t make this stuff up.

mcvitty in granada

Mackie on his boat in Granada

a note about irving

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The house was buried in the Providence Craigslist real estate postings under the standard fare of colonials, capes and Victorians. I remember pulling up to the house for the first time. After more than 30 disappointing property viewings, we’d finally found it: our bold, sunny modern.

The real estate agent told us the house was built by a Rhode Island School of Design architecture school grad student — a woman no less. We liked the sound of that. But a trip to the city records revealed that  the architect of our house was actually a well-seasoned New England native by the name of Irving B. Haynes. A little online sleuthing told us more… and then we really got psyched.

Born in Waterville, Maine, in 1927, Irving became an architect, a long-time RISD professor, historic preservationist, jazz musician and an accomplished painter. He was a busy, busy man that Irving. His art would look completely at home in this house.

Just a few of my favorites from his website, which you should really visit if you’re into this kind of thing:


1969 | Untitled, watercolor on paper 15"x20"


1974 | Untitled, watercolor on paper 18"x24"


1988 | Untitled, acrylic on paper 14"x17"


1988 | Untitled, acrylic on paper 44"x30"


1988 | Untitled, acrylic on paper 44"x30"


1998 | Johnny's Boogie, acrylic on paper 44"x30"


2003 | Blue Roof, acrylic on paper 30"x22"


2004 | Well-Braced, acrylic on paper 14"x17"

Writer Joe Leduc in the art journal Big, Red and Shiny shares this bit of history about Irving:

Born in Maine, Haynes came to Rhode Island in 1948 as a transfer student to RISD from Colby College.  After earning degrees in painting and architecture, he spent the 1950s working for a variety of architectural firms by day and playing jazz by nights in area nightclubs. By 1968… Haynes had his own architectural practice, Haynes and Associates, in Providence. Another career began in 1973, when he started teaching Foundation Studies at his alma mater, assuming an Assistant Professorship in 1980.  Haynes’ association with RISD would continue, as he retired from architectural practice in 1990 to concentrate on painting and teaching, becoming a Full Professor in 1997 before retiring in 2005.

There’s not a ton of information online about Irving. Someday I may make a trip to the RISD Library to see what else I can find out. In the meantime, here are a few more links for anyone who stumbles across this post and is so inclined:

  • A writeup of the man and his art for a posthumous show of his work in 2005 at RISD’s Industrial Design Department Gallery in the Brown Daily Herald.

Thank you, Irving, for designing a house we absolutely love. We promise to keep any updates true to the spirit of the house. And put some Brubeck on the turntable every now and then.

go ahead, gaze upon it and gloat…

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This is the home of a lapsed neatnik and her family. This is how it’s traversed…

By dodging boxes in the stairwell, boxes in the closet, boxes pressed to the ceiling in the garage. Stumbling over piles of things deemed worthy for sale.

By mashing your fingers between stacks of drawers that have no dresser to hold them, every time you need a t-shirt. Opening the file cabinet to hunt for the cheese grater.

painting in waiting

By trying to ignore the art languishing in the hallways and corners, waiting for a wall to be hung on. And a good dusting.

Sinatra's tired of waiting

By wondering how much longer ‘til Sinatra, New Order, Stereolab and his hundreds of other vinyl sidekicks get to come out of hiding.

How we got here is simple: we moved. From a place with nearly 3,600 sq ft to a place with 1,700 square feet.

master bedroom, more drawers

That’s about  2,000 sq ft of crap to eliminate, which we’ve been doing steadily. for. two. years. There were yard sales. A 20-yard dumpster filled with David’s woodshop scrap. So, so many trips to the dump.

more stuuuuf

Forcing things on friends… “no, really, TAKE it.” Storing larger items with family. Countless things sold on eBay and Craigslist or bagged up for Sal’s Army.

more in the livingroom

Until we can add shelving, cabinets and the like to a house with a dearth of storage, we have no convenient place to put what we’d actually like to keep.

headboard in kitchen with no appliances

A fully functioning kitchen would be nice, but I won’t get ahead of myself. For the moment I’ll stick to the steeplechase my daily path has become.

more stairway stuff

Virgos are supposed to be perfectionists. Honestly, I was never the white-glove type. I just want a home where I can put my hands on a clean pair of underwear or a thumbtack when I need one.

yes, more stairwell

With that as my goal, I share with you the remodel of a modern house by a modern family.  It’s a modern hot mess. Enter if you dare.

the entryway... come on in

Try not to trip over the headboard in the entryway, ’kay?