Summer Excursion: The Glass House

Post by Bonnie Vigeland, ARLIS/NA New England member

On July 22, 2019, a joint group from the ARLIS/NA New York and ARLIS/NA New England chapters met in New Canaan, CT for a guided tour of Philip Johnson’s Glass House and its extensive grounds and outbuildings. The iconic house, completed in 1949, is one of the best known – perhaps the first – Internationalist style residence in the U.S.

Image of the Glass House
The Glass House. Photo by Bonnie Vigeland.

It is sited on a small promontory, with exquisite Mies Van der Rohe furnishings inside, and four glass walls that connect to the landscape outside. The landscape is intentionally a sculptural element of the site, carefully constructed and populated over the years with plantings and outbuildings, both functional and decorative: the Brick House (for guests), separate galleries for painting and sculpture, the pond pavilion, a ghost house.

Image of the Sculpture Gallery
The Sculpture Gallery. Photo by Bonnie Vigeland.

We explored the house and the grounds, and visited both the painting and the sculpture galleries, filled with the collection curated by Johnson’s partner, David Whitney. It includes works by artists who also became personal friends of the couple – Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Julian Schnabel, Bruce Nauman, George Segal, among others.  A perfect walking tour for a gorgeous summer day!