Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Days of Homes and Heaven

One of my favorite films is Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. Like so many other people, I adore its art direction, especially the scenes with that magnificent house all by itself on the prairie. (People have speculated that it was modelled after an Edward Hopper painting. The Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World also has this mood.)

I’ve always loved large, isolated houses that have a great deal of character. Another favorite is Mary Mason Jones’ place, built on 5th Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets when Central Park was still called “the wilderness.”

Jones was Edith Wharton’s aunt and she was considered very brave indeed live physically outside the boundaries of polite society. This photo doesn’t show how the Jones mansion was truly all alone, but it was, until other “Marble Row” homes were built.

Now, of course, a shop occupies Jones’s once groundbreaking space. Can anyone remind me which one?

This photograph of the Don Cesar hotel in Florida has that same quality of being nestled alone among the dunes. Of course it’s an optical illusion, but one that I like to sustain.

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