Wednesday, September 2, 2009


These black and white photos from Liz O'Brien's excellent book about Samuel Marx - the latest treasure to be discovered in my newly augmented library - show the central rotunda of the Hotel Pierre as designed by Mr. Marx for J. Paul Getty after he bought the hotel in 1938.

Let me quote Ms. O'Brien:

"The central rotunda of the Hotel Pierre, which, although much changed, still exists today, is an oval-shaped room with two sweeping staircases leading to the Grand Ballroom. The space featured bold architectural gestures often used by Marx in the late 1930s, such as the wide sculpted moldings of the doorways and the large circular plaster chandelier hung in the center of the room, adding a baroque flourish."

Below find two images of what replaced Marx's design. Painting by Edward Melcarth.

For Ms. O'Brien to say of the rotunda "although much changed" is perhaps the understatement of the year.

If, by the way, you don't have this book you should really get your hands on a copy. It's beautifully illustrated, full of treasures and it almost, almost, goes without saying that those amongst us given to "baroque flourishes" could learn a thing or two about grand gestures.


  1. The vulgarity and stupidity of the replacement interior makes me sick just to look at it and knowing this expensive garbage replaced something thoughtful and esthetically stimulating just leaves me depressed. I wish for our sake, as an ever redoing society, the Marx design had at least been replaced by something noteworthy and not just tacky and grotesque, this would be a lot easier to reckon with.