Frances Elkins: Visionary American Designer (Hardcover)

Frances Elkins: Visionary American Designer By Scott Powell Cover Image
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A wide-ranging book on the timeless, elegant interiors of the versatile Frances Elkins, the grande dame of early twentieth-century design who influenced so many important designers of our time.

Called “the most creative designer we have ever had” by Billy Baldwin, Frances Elkins has been revered for her classic, erudite, and multidimensional decor. Ahead of her time, Elkins became a successful decorator who by the early 1930s had reached the top of her profession and was considered the only rival to Elsie de Wolfe.

Working throughout the United States, Elkins brought an international perspective and architectural sensibility to her work.  Elkins traveled widely with her architect brother David Adler, educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and he was a strong influence on her.  Her social circle included interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, couturière Coco Chanel, aesthete Charles de Beistegui, arts patron Misia Sert and painter Salvador Dali,  For her clients, she brought a modern European chic as well as a melding of the best of American, English, French,, Asian and Mexican traditions.  A talented furniture and fabric designer as well as interior designer, she collaborated with many luminaries, including Frank; architects Adler, Gardner Dailey, and William Wurster; weaver Dorothy Liebes; decorator Syrie Maugham; the artist Bruton sisters; and furniture maker Myron Oliver.  Her carefully planned interiors were known for their distinctive sophistication and polish, and an inviting sense of comfort.

Showcasing never-before-published material , Frances Elkins: Visionary American Designer includes more than sixty interiors that illustrate her outstanding sense of color and her gift of mixing periods and styles —from her early work on the Monterey Peninsula, to houses she designed with her brother in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, to iconic hotel commissions such as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, to homes for film star Edward G. Robinson, banking heiress Celia Tobin Clark and advertising legend Albert Lasker.  With images by top photographers of the day as well as newly commissioned images of extant Elkins interiors, this volume will serve as a revelation and inspiration to fans of design.

About the Author

Scott Powell is a noted arts and design historian and a frequent lecturer on Frances Elkins. Through his extensive research on her life and work, he has become a leading expert on Elkins’s designs, influence, and biography and has documented more than 250 Elkins commissions, many previously unknown. Powell has gathered the most definitive images of Elkins’s interiors, as well as her extensive correspondence with the leading designers, artists, and creatives of her day.

Praise For…

"Nearly anything that registers as great interior design in the 2020s appeared in legendary interior designer Frances Elkins’s rooms in the 1920s. Her projects were replete with warm tones, interesting tile, and a mix of modern, vintage, and antique furniture. Bamboo dining chairs in a Chippendale style? Elkins did that. That thing you’re calling “granny chic?” Elkins had you beat." —IN KANSAS CITY

"Regarded by many as the grande dame of 20th-century design, Frances Elkins brought an international perspective and architectural sensibility to her work that nobody had seen before. This new monograph showcases never-before-published material from the groundbreaking decorator that illustrates her ability to effortlessly mix styles and vivid colors." —VERANDA

"Among a trove of images and magazine spreads of rooms Elkins designed, Powell also includes interiors dotted with furniture and fabric collaborations between Elkins and Frank, as well as architects including her brother David Adler. Famed decorator Billy Baldwin called her “the most creative designer we have ever had, and perhaps the greatest,” and here her influential work stands in concert with fellow Northern California innovators Anthony Hail, Michael Taylor and John Dickinson." ~ C Magazine

"Elkins favored chic modernist European furniture, including the white plaster shell sconces, shell ceiling lights and twisted floor lamps designed by Alberto Giacometti for Jean-Michel Frank, or her own authorized copies. The Giacometti-style pieces later became basics of San Francisco interior designer Michael Taylor, who considered Elkins the most advanced designer he knew. “Elkins was a free spirit and mixed things that hadn’t been mixed before,” he told Dupuy Warrick Reed, writing for Connoisseur magazine in 1983. “She was experimental in scale and approach.” " ~Nob Hill Gazette

"She collaborated with luminaries like Syrie Maugham, Marion Dorn, Dorothy Liebes, Alberto Giacometti and Jean-Michel Frank to specify teal and tangerine upholstery, mermaid murals and creamy ridged carpets. She turned glass pillars into gossamer balusters and spiraled a crimson-carpeted staircase around a stack of clear plastic balls. Plaster hands served as holdbacks on her fringed, plaid curtains." ~ NY Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780847865468
ISBN-10: 0847865460
Publisher: Rizzoli
Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English