Joseph Urban was a prolific and innovative Gilded Age illustrator, designer, architect, and one of the most significant set designers of the early 20th century. The New York Herald-Tribune observed, “did more than any other man to revolutionize the American sense of design … He had a feeling for color and material so original that they did much to remake the American stage, revitalize American architecture and contribute a new impetus to American industrial design.”
Urban received his first architectural commission at age 19 when he was selected to design the new wing of the Abdin Palace in Cairo. He became known around the world for his innovative and unprecedented use of color, his pointillist technique, and his sensuous and decorative use of line. He designed buildings throughout the world from Esterhazy Castle in Hungary to the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. Urban’s legacy in Palm Beach are his iconic buildings, Mar-A-Lago, the Paramount Theater, and the Bath and Tennis Club. This exhibition will explore Urban’s impressive body of work and celebrate this highly original designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibit includes rarely seen objects that have been archived for more than 90 years, including the only surviving copies of Urban's elevations of the Mar-a-Lago estate, and the only surviving rendering of the demolished Oasis Club. A highlight of the exhibit will be the recreation of the Wiener Werkstätte Showroom in New York.
There are various events held in conjunction with the exhibition, including: a Gallery Talk with biographer John Loring, a Children's Exhibit Activitiy, and a movie screening of Little old New York in the Museum's Grand Ballroom.
Reviews:"This is an intimidating show, the kind that leaves one speechless because the best thing one could say would still do a lame job of describing the works. As you walk the show, keep in mind that before you is not just an artist who took on every project that came his way but one who delivered, extraordinarily, again and again and again."- Gretel Sarmiento, Palm Beach ArtsPaper.
Urban's proposed design for the interior of the new Metropolitan Opera House. Image courtesy Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Butler Library.
Pair of chairs desgned by Joseph Urban executed by Sandar Jaray, 1908. Mahogany wood veneer inlaid with mother-of-pearl, brass, reproduction upholstery.bel etage, Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna.
February 5, 201110:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Free with Museum admission
In conjunction with the exhibition, The Extraordinary Joseph Urban, the Museum invites 4th - 8th graders to a special gallery tour with the Education Director followed by a hands-on learning activity.
March 3, 20117:00 p.m.Free for Sustaining Members
$5 - Individual Family, & Life Members$10 for non-members
Joseph Urban’s spectacular set design can be seen during a special screening of “Little Old New York” starring Marion Davies. The 1923 classic was the highest grossing film at the time, selling over 200,000 tickets. Davies plays a charming Irish girl who poses as her dead brother to inherit a fortune in 18th century New York. The film’s historical setting features Gilded Age figures like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Washington Irving, and John Jacob Astor.
February 22, 201112:15 p.m.Free with Museum admissionReservations recommended
Tour The Extraordinary Joseph Urban with biographer John Loring and learn more about the life and legacy of architect Joseph Urban. Loring, a former New York bureau chief of Architectural Digest and design director of Tiffany & Co., will also sign copies of his latest book on Joseph Urban.
One Whitehall Way P.O. Box 969, Palm Beach, FL 33480 (561) 655-2833
Terms & Conditions - © Flagler Museum, 2011