Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The House that Jack Built
Jack Lenor Larsen, internationally known textile designer, author, and collector, is one of the world's foremost advocates of traditional and contemporary crafts.
His awards are many and his designs are in collections of international museums. Larsen is associated with schools and art centers worldwide.
Jack Lenor Larsen founded the firm that bears his name in 1952. Over the past five decades, Larsen the Company has grown steadily to become a dominant resource for signature fabrics.
The "Larsen Look" which began with Mr. Larsen's own award-winning hand-woven fabrics of natural yarns in random repeats has evolved to become synonymous with 20th century design at its pinnacle.
Known as an innovator, Larsen has won many awards and is one of four Americans ever to be honored with an exhibition at the Palais du Louvre.
The merger between Larsen and Cowtan & Tout, the USA subsidiary of Colefax and Fowler Group Plc., took place in 1998. For five years Jack Larsen was a design consultant to the group and played a key role in the development of new designs.
More than a weaver, Mr. Larsen is a scholar, world traveler, and an authority on traditional and contemporary crafts. His home, LongHouse, located on 16 acres in East Hampton, NY, was built as a case study to exemplify a creative approach to contemporary life-style. He believes visitors experiencing art in living spaces have a unique learning experience--more meaningful than the best media.
Inspired by the famous Japanese shrine at Ise, LongHouse contains 13,000 square feet, 18 spaces on four levels. The gardens present the designed landscape as an art form in its own right.
The grounds also offer a diversity of sites for the preservation of multifarious species where they can flourish for generations to come.
Mr. Larsen's most recent book, Jack Lenor Larsen: A Weaver's Memoir, was published by Harry N. Abrams in the fall of 1998 and reprinted in 2002.
Interview with Jack Larsen by Patricia Malarcher of Surface Design Journal
To view some of the magazine articles written about LongHouse Reserve and Jack Larsen please click on the links below. (To view the files you will need a free Adobe Reader)
The Modern Estate, Spring Issue 2008
Architectural Digest, June 2003
Gardens Illustrated, October, 2003
Art & Antiques, September, 2001
House Beautiful, June 1997
Click to view Larsen design "A Living Archive" at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
For Larsen Inc. click here
1927 Born to Norsk-Canadian parents in Seattle, WA
1945 Enrolled at school of architecture, University of Washington
1946/47 Studied furniture design, started to weave. Moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on fabric
1949 Returned to Seattle to study ancient Peruvian fabrics; opened studio
1950/51 Cranbrook Academy of Art (Michigan), Master of Fine Arts degree; Opened New York City studio
1957/60/64 Reported the Trienale di Milano for Interiors Magazine
1958-60 Consultant to the State Department for grass weaving projects in Taiwan and Vietnam; visited Southeast Asia
1960-62 Co-Director, Fabric Design Department, Philadelphia College of Art, Pennsylvania
1962 Designer and director of traveling exhibition, Fabrics International: Visited West Africa, Morocco, and the Transvaal
1964 Design Director and U.S. Commissioner, XIII Trienale di Milano
1965 Completed Round House at East Hampton, New York
1966-67 Vice President, Architectural League of New York
1968-69 Co-curator, "Wall Hangings," The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1974 Designed "Visiona IV" exhibition, Frankfurt, for Bayer Ag
1975 Artist-in-Residence, Royal College of Art, London
1976-81 Chairman, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; Honorary Chair from 1981.
1977 Curator, "Wall Hangings-The New Classicism," The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1979-80 Retrospective, Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Palais du Louvre
1981 Co-director, "The Art Fabric: Mainstream" traveling exhibition opening at the San Francisco Museum of Art
1981-89 President, American Craft Council, Emeritus, from 1990.
1983-84 Editor, "Design Since 1945," Philadelphia Museum of Art
1986-89 Curator, "Interlacing: The Elemental Fabric" opening at The Textile Museum, Washington, DC
1986-91 Curator, "Splendid Forms" at Bellas Artes Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1988 Curator, "The Tactile Vessel: New Basket Forms," Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
1991 Established the LongHouse Foundation, East Hampton, NY
2001-02 Retrospective Exhibit, "Jack Lenor Larsen: The Man and the Cloth", Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN.
Other venues: American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA, The Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA
This information was gathered from the website www.longhouse.org
Please visited the website and take a virtual tour of the gardens and the interiors. Jack's textiles that he wove are very unique. He truly was very innovative to the designer textiles industry. His fabric was probably one of my most favourite fabric's to choose for client's. Now my favourite collection is Mark Pollack's textiles. Mark designed textiles at the Larsen studios before he went out on his own many years ago.