Rediscovering and Preserving more from Millard Sheets

Last week I had the pleasure, through Zoom, of attending a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission hearing. I spoke in support of making the former McKee Construction Los Angeles branch office an officially recognized historical-cultural monument. The wonderful SurveyLA project found this building–a pair of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings at the edge of a larger industrial site, on North San Fernando […]

Banking on Beauty: Bibliography

Archival Collections Consulted The Ahmanson Foundation Archives Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Autry National Center Collections Braun Research Library Denison Library, Scripps College Fieldstead Archives The Huntington Library The Los Angeles Conservancy Vertical Files Los Angeles Public Library Loyola Marymount University Archives Seaver Center for Western History Research, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum Rufus Turner Collection George Underwood Collection […]

Towards 2016 — An Upcoming Event and Work in Progress

Hi everyone! My first semester teaching at Manhattan College is winding down, and so I finally have a chance to update things here. I have a full draft completed for my book on the art and architecture of the Millard Sheets Studio, and I have conversations ongoing with publishers and museums (though your leads welcomed!), as I edit and I plan […]

Garden Grove and the Birth of the Sheets Studio Mosaic Style

Apropos of my talk this month in St. Louis, many of March’s posts will draw upon the eye-opening information in the Ravenna Mosaic Company files at St. Louis University, which John Waide has helped me access. The files on this mosaic from Garden Grove have helped me resolve an ongoing question raised by conversations with mosaicist and mosaic historian Lillian Sizemore: […]

The Global Process of Home Savings Mosaics

Mosaic is an ancient art. Around the Mediterranean, but especially in Italy, mosaic traditions go back millennia. And there was nothing obvious about Millard Sheets’s decision to include mosaics in his initial designs for Home Savings — though, along with stained glass, travertine, gold leaf, and classicist references in modernist designs — they contribute to Sheets’s goal of helping a new […]

Jean Goodwin Ames and Arthur Ames: Ancestors of the Sheets Studio Mosaics

When Millard Sheets first designed mosaics, he sent them off to be fabricated by the Ravenna Mosaic Company of St. Louis, run by the German Heudeck family.  It was only after he crossed paths with Jean Goodwin Ames and her husband Arthur Ames that Sheets could imagine fabricating mosaics in California. Jean and Arthur met in a MFA ceramics class with Glen Lukens, […]

Back Soon / Dallas Mercantile Bank mosaics

Hello everyone! We have a newborn in my household, so the posts will be paused for a few weeks while we get accustomed to that. In the meantime, I suggest this great article by Christina Geyer from the weekend’s Dallas Morning News, about the Dallas Mercantile Bank mosaics designed by the Sheets Studio. There were also sculptures and, it seems, wall […]

Fourth of July Week with Millard Sheets, Ben Mayer, and Paul Revere Williams

Hello everyone! I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July. On my jaunt through the Orange County and Los Angeles beach cities last week, I drove by this former Bank of America building designed by Paul Revere Williams, the first African American member of the AIA and a distinguished Los Angeles architect of the early-to-mid-twentieth century. (Read more about Williams’s remarkable […]

The Need for Preservation: Compton

This week I am teaching an intensive course, so not a lot of time to post. But here I think the image says it all. This is an 1958 original Millard Sheets Designs building, 1801 N. Long Beach Blvd., with the exterior architecture, mosaic, gold tiles, and even sculpture in place. (I assume the inside was gutted; I was there when […]

Missing Home Savings Art: Mysteries in Santa Monica and Glendale

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Lillian Sizemore, an accomplished mosaic artist who teaches about contemporary and classical mosaic techniques and who knew Denis O’Connor, the mosaic master of the Home Savings bank art, in his last years. (Last week I took a week off for spring break — sorry!) We discussed the intersections of our research while browsing […]