Friday, July 20, 2012

The William A. Clark Residence

 The William Andrews Clark residence designed by Lord, Hewlett & Hull and Kenneth Murchison c. 1905 at 952 Fifth Avenue at East 77th Street in New York City.  Clark made his fortune in copper mining and served as United States Senator from Montana.  This was the childhood home of Clark's youngest daughter, Huguette M. Clark.  The house was sold in 1927, two years after Clark's death, and the residence was demolished to make way for the apartment house at 960 Fifth Avenue.  Click HERE for Christopher Gray's Streetscapes article on the residence.





Photos from Architecture, 1907.

13 comments:

Zach said...

Clark and I have the same birthday.

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3b30000/3b30000/3b30400/3b30436u.tif

The Down East Dilettante said...

Too funny---and it has marked you with a taste for splendor. My birthday twins are Robin Williams and Ernest Hemingway. I prefer not to think what it means.

This house is so beyond the outer beyond---the entire Paris exposition crowded vertically onto one street corner, that even I am at loss for words. The mansion's Paris Exposition design quality is far from accidental as the original concept was drawn up by Henri Deglane, the architect of the Grande Palais.

For one of the best primary accounts of the process of building this house, apparently overlooked by most who have written about it, one cannot do better than this New York Times piece about legal disagreements which lays out the history and chronology: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F00F12FF3E5B11738DDDA80994DA415B818CF1D3

The Down East Dilettante said...

And for those who might have missed it in Anonymous's comments yesterday, this link to an Architectural Record critique of the Clark House is very entertaining.

http://books.google.com/books?id=GkpTAAAAMAAJ&dq=senator%20Clark&pg=PA27#v=onepage&q=senator%20Clark&f=true

The Devoted Classicist said...

It's the "cupola" that really throws it beyond all bounds; without it, the house would be merely exuberant. (And yes, the Architectural Record article is a classic piece).

chauncy primm said...

Copulas belfries and towers were staples on many a grand mansion. But I blame the interiors especially the dining room for its over exuberance. I wish I could share the photo but the ceiling is a heavy coffer wooden carved masterpiece and the limestone walls were fitted with Atlas style personages rising out of the stone.

The Down East Dilettante said...

True enough. I should be working, but I've instead been amusing myself by masking out various portions of the house to see how it works without them. The trouble definitely begins after the first floor, as Senator Clark begins pushing his expenditure heavenward (although the Architectural Record has some stiff things to say about the rustication of the first floor). They are also spot on about the Fifth Avenue facade, a decent piece of work.

But what can one really say? Everything here is done with such exuberance, such quality, and the idea behind is so thoroughly carried out that while one might laugh at the building, it is hard to hate it. And at the end of the day, is not Senator Clark the very model of the crude rude rich American of Howells and James who goes to Europe and rather than becoming aesthetically enlightened by the Louvre, instead brings back the entire World's Fair?

The Down East Dilettante said...

I meant 'the trouble really begins after the FOURTH floor', not the first..

This house may have many flaws, but stiffness isn't amongst them---everything flows together, to their illogical conclusion at the tip of the tower...

The Down East Dilettante said...

One of the many things I don't share with Hemingway is a talent for words. I of course meant to say 'Everything flows together to ITS illogical conclusion', OR 'All the elements flow together to their illogical conclusion.' Mea culpa to all those kind souls who tried to teach me the elements of grammar in my formative years.

archibuff said...

An absolutely fantastic post Zach. Thanks a heap.

An all time favorite NYC mansion.
Love the close-up photos of the roof dormer details, rich masonry work and absolutely awe inspiring cupola. What an impressive sight it had to be overlooking the park.

l'il gay boy said...

Exuberant -- perfect characterization.

For those interested, not only is there quite a saga on the MSNBC site for Huguette, but a lot of humorous pennings from our Mama over at the RealEstalker.

archibuff said...

The saga of Huguette Clark is yet another example that life is not always greener on the other side of the fence. One would think that all that wealth would have brought a lifetime of great experiences, travel and happiness instead of such isolation and probably deep paranoia of the world outside her homes walls.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the floor plans for two floors of this house. Have the others ever been published? I'd love to know what the upper and lower floors were like.

Anonymous said...

Too bad they scrapped the place. It had character - which is more than I can say for its replacement.

Lorra