Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator

Overview

The definitive book on the legendary decorator Billy Baldwin, known as the "Dean of American Decorating," famous for his classical taste, streamlined modernism, and brilliant use of color. In the tradition of Rizzoli’s Albert Hadley and David Hicks, this is the first fully illustrated account of the career of Billy Baldwin (1903–1983), one of the most important decorators of the twentieth century, whose work has influenced contemporary designers from Bunny Williams to Jeffrey Bilhuber. A native of Baltimore, ...
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Overview

The definitive book on the legendary decorator Billy Baldwin, known as the "Dean of American Decorating," famous for his classical taste, streamlined modernism, and brilliant use of color. In the tradition of Rizzoli’s Albert Hadley and David Hicks, this is the first fully illustrated account of the career of Billy Baldwin (1903–1983), one of the most important decorators of the twentieth century, whose work has influenced contemporary designers from Bunny Williams to Jeffrey Bilhuber. A native of Baltimore, Baldwin’s work caught the eye of eminent New York decorator Ruby Ross Wood. She invited him to join her firm, saying his work stood out "like a beacon of light in the boredom of the houses around it." Baldwin’s style was a revelation—simultaneously classical and modernist, tailored and clean, yet dramatically colored, and above all American. An enemy of clutter and conspicuous wealth, he favored natural materials and comfortable furniture. The drama in his rooms often came from color, as seen in the dark brown lacquered walls of Cole Porter’s library or the scarlet cotton print that covered Diana Vreeland’s apartment. Immensely charming, Baldwin was a popular addition to the high society of New York. His clients included Bill and Deeda Blair, Babe and Bill Paley, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. With a foreword by Baldwin’s former student Albert Hadley, and enriched by never-before-published transcripts of four 1974 lectures that Baldwin gave at the Cooper-Hewitt, this is an important book for anyone interested in interior design.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Adam Lewis's new book, 'Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator' (Rizzoli), surveys the life and career of the man whose pared-down versions of the slipper chair and brass bookshelves became famous, and whose work continues to influence designers long after his death in 1983... The book, which has an affectionate foreword by Albert Hadley, Baldwin's former student, is a welcome addition to the two (out-of-print and increasingly expensive) volumes on the decorator's work..." ~New York Times, T Magazine Blog
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847833672
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 541,598
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Lewis is the author of Van Day Truex, Albert Hadley, and The Great Lady Decorators.
Albert Hadley
is one of the most important American interior designers of the twentieth century.
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Table of Contents

Foreword: I Remember Billy by Albert Hadley
Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART ONE: The History
The Propitious Telephone Call
Growing Up in Baltimore
People Who Shaped Baldwin’s Life
Ruby Ross Wood
New York City
Friends
Interior Decoration
Baldwin & Martin, Inc.
Clients
Commercial Contracts
Gains and Losses
The Other Island

PART TWO: The "Decorating Today" Lectures
Introduction
Lecture 1: The Beginning of the Project
Lecture 2: The Bones of a Room
Lecture 3: The Elements of Decoration
Lecture 4: The Personal Touch

Bibliography
Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2011

    "Billy Baldwin, The Great American Decorator"....Highly recommended

    I recently purchased the biography of Billy Baldwin by Adam Lewis. I know Lewis' writing and expertise from having a copy of "Albert Hadley:
    America's Preeminent Interior Designer." This biography of Billy Baldwin is well-written, bringing new scholarship to the subject and many new photographs, both black and white and in color to accompany and explain the text. It covers his childhood, early seminal influences of Pauline Potter, Marian Hall, Van Day Truex, Ruby Ross Wood, and others on his taste, which led to his personal style, both classical and modern in approach for well-known clients. Lewis has incorporated new material of the personal life of Baldwin. A real find is the addition of the four lectures on interior decoration given by Baldwin at Cooper Hewitt after he had retired from active business. Well worth the price as are all of Adam Lewis books on interior design/decoration!

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