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DecoBall Photos 2009
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DecoBall Photos 2011

 

 

The Art Deco Preservation Awards

ADSC Preservation Award Winners for 2011:

 1. Peter and Merle Mullin:  Mullin Automotive Museum Collection

The Mullin Automotive Museum, located in Oxnard, California, is the creation of Peter and Merle Mullin and their passion for classic automobiles. The Museum is an homage to Art Deco and the Machine Age, with an exquisite collection of the finest examples of automobiles of the era including Bugattis, Delages, Delahayes, Hispano Swizas, Talbot-Lagos and Voisins. The collection also includes examples of the finest Art Deco furniture, furnishings and related decorative art of the same period.  The Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation supports nonprofit public charities dedicated to study, preservation and display of classic automobiles. Peter Mullin is a past President of the American Bugatti Club and a member of the Bugatti Trust. The Museum Collection houses an impressive display of the furniture designs of Carlo Bugatti, a member of the multi-talented Bugatti family that included automobile designers and sculptors.  This collection epitomizes the sublime styling and superb engineering of this era. We honor the Mullins for their inspired preservation contributions.

2. David Packard: Theater Preservationist

David Woodley Packard, through the Packard Humanities Institute established in 1987, has provided extraordinary leadership and generous patronage to a wide range of conservation concerns, including: music, film preservation, and historic conservation of movie theaters. Mr. Packard has diligently directed his energies and his funding support toward preservation and restoration of many period Bay Area movie theaters, from the Stanford in Palo Alto to the recently completed California Theater in San Jose. We recognize his continued dedication toward film preservation and for making it possible for current and future generations to experience this wonder within the context of original movie palaces. No one passing the Art Deco splendor of the neon sign at the California Theater or sitting in the dark to see a sparkling nitrate print would ever question the value of such remarkable preservation effort. We recognize that the passionate artistic work of the Art Deco period is fragile, and in many cases, comes down to us only through the equally passionate work of individuals such as David Packard. 

3. John Wentzel: Aladdin Radio Repair Co. 

In this age of disposable electronics, there are few venues for the repair and veneration of the wonderful examples of technology from the Art Deco era. Many of the ADSC members have depended upon a single institution, carried on by one man, namely John Wentzel, owner of Aladdin Radio Repair Company. Mr. Wentzel has dedicated his life to repair of radios, and has amassed an impressive collection of vintage radios and related artifacts. His shop is housed, appropriately enough, in a delightful Deco building on Irving Street in San Francisco, providing an wonderful image to the neighborhood. Mr. Wentzel’s expertise in repair of these period items, is very much a lost art. As a resource for this service, and for his preservation and knowledge of vintage radios, we consider him a veritable Living Legend. We salute and honor his long career, and are grateful for the continuation of this bit of our cultural history.

4. The Bruton Sisters; Artists

Margaret (1894-1983), Esther (1896-1992), and Helen (1898-1985)
This gifted trio of sisters from Alameda has left a rich legacy of artistic works throughout the Bay Area.   Broadly founded in art, they traveled to Europe, and studied in Paris, including the Academie de la Chaumiere. They were skilled in a variety of media including etching, painting and sculpture. Frequently working in delicate tile mosaics, their colorful murals from the 1930’s grace the Old Art Gallery at U.C. Berkeley, an intimate hotel lobby on Powell Street in San Francisco, and the entry loggia to the Mothers House at the San Francisco Zoo. They provided a massive, polychrome bas relief mural entitled “The Peacemakers” as one the major artworks at the 1939 Treasure Island Golden Gate International Exhibition.  They did two terra cotta bas relief panels at the Downtown Fresno Post Office, one of many WPA projects in which they participated.  One of the most popular enduring masterworks of the Sisters Bruton is their decorative painted panels at the Cirque Lounge, a post prohibition bar, in the Fairmont Hotel.   

5. Helen Katherine Forbes: Artist  (1891-1945)

This San Francisco painter, born into a California Pioneer family, shared many qualities of her talented contemporary artists such as the Bruton Sisters. She traveled to Europe to study in Munich and in Paris under the famous Andre Lhote. She studied in California under Armin Hansen and went on to become a major artist in the 1930’s.  She was an etcher, muralist and painter, equally proficient in oil, tempera and watercolor. She completed many murals, including “Jedediah Smith Crossing the Merced River”at the Merced Post Office, and the extensive “Noah’s Ark” murals at the Mothers House at the San Francisco Zoo. She was particularly gifted in her colorful representations of both figures and animals, and exhibited an animated variety in groupings of the delightful creatures of the Zoo murals. She worked jointly with Dorothy Puccinelli in the concept, overall color palette, style and composition for the “Noah’s Ark” murals at the Zoo. The work of both artists presents a cohesive whole with no glaring differences in individual styles.

6. Dorothy Wagner Puccinelli: Artist  (1901-1974)

Dorothy Wagner was born in San Antonio, Texas, but moved to Half Moon Bay in California at the age of five, and would study at CSFA, and later the Schaefer School under Benjamino Bufano.  She married the sculptor Ramond Puccinelli.  She was one of many talented Bay Area artists to work under the auspices of the WPA and became known for her murals in many public locations. She did a wonderful mural “Vacheros” for the Merced Post Office, and later worked again with Helen Forbes (who did a concurrent mural at this Post Office) on the “Noah’s Ark” murals for the Mothers House at the San Francisco Zoo. She was proficient in lithographs, doing lovely images of local wildlife and plants, water colors, portraiture and tempera
murals. We celebrate the women artists honored here, all of whom did art work at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition, as well as the San Francisco Zoo. We honor the San Francisco Zoo and the San Francisco Arts Commission as custodians and conservationists of these important works of the Art Deco period.

7. Alameda County Veterans Memorial Buildings  

Alameda County commissioned and constructed a remarkable series, 10 in all, of Veterans Memorials Buildings in the years 1927 through 1935. All are designed by the talented local architect, Henry Haight Meyers. While each building is unique, they all have wonderful detailing, custom light fixtures, moldings, etc. typical of the Art Deco style. The County still owns and operates five of the buildings, and each one is maintained in splendid condition, with its wonderful period detailing, functioning auditorium, and Deco light fixtures. We salute Alameda County GSA, for such dedicated stewardship in preserving and restoring these splendid buildings. The Veterans Memorial Building locations recognized include:

  • Albany: 1325 Portland Avenue, Albany, CA
  • Fremont (Niles): 37154 Second Avenue, Fremont, CA
  • Hayward: 22737 Main Street, Hayward, CA
  • Livermore: 522 South L Street, Livermore, CA
  • San Leandro: 1105 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro, CA    

8. San Francisco Silent Film Festival  

This non profit organization, founded in 1992, has dramatically altered the perception of silent films as absurdly antiquated and boring “flickers” to the reality that these precious documents are remarkable for their artistry and their enduring entertainment value. As a resource the SFSFF has hand-selected the finest 35mm prints, engaged musicians and composers for authentic accompaniment, and provided scholarly context and comment to every film shown. To see these films in a theater such as our beloved Castro, and to know that our experience is exactly the same as that of an audience almost a century ago, is a rare and exhilarating privilege. The look and feel and beauty of the Art Deco era become alive and intimate in these exquisitely restored films. This work continues to amaze and inspire new generations of both devotees and artists.  For such remarkable dedication to the cultural importance and historic legacy of silent film, we salute the San Francisco Silent Film Festival with gratitude.

9.  The Posey Tube, Alameda Gateway

This handsomely massed landmark, built in 1927, was designed by noted local Architect Henry Haight Meyers, known also for his beautiful Alameda County Veterans Memorial Buildings. This structure, with its simple stylized Deco ornamentation, provided access from the East Bay to Alameda, home of the long forgotten Deco playground, Neptune Beach. Alameda functioned as a choice resort spot with its beaches, and the amusement park enjoyed enormous popularity until it was forced to close in 1939. The tube connection provided not just an attractive structure, but state of the art vehicular fume exhaust modeled on the Holland Tunnel, including consultation with Ole Singstad, who designed the pioneering system for the Holland Tunnel.  Alameda County wisely chose Henry H. Meyers for its major public structures, and whereas this portal to the connector tube under the bay could have been just a utilitarian pile, this twin towered landmark has been an enduring visual example of excellent design and architecture since it construction. We salute Caltrans for its
stewardship in maintaining this wonderful structure from the Art Deco period.

Every year the Art Deco Society of California presents Art Deco Preservation Awards to the people who have helped preserve the buildings, art, and culture from the Art Deco era.

We are always looking for winners, so keep your eyes open throughout the year and make a nomination at any time. Send information to the ADSC Office, attention Preservation Director, The Art Deco Society of California, 100 Bush Street #511, San Francisco, CA 94104 or leave a message at 415-982-DECO or contact the new Preservation Director, Lynn Harrison, Architect at hlharrisionsf@sbcglobal.net

When submitting a nomination be sure to include the following information:

History: Who built it and when? Are there other works by this architect?

Condition: Is a restoration in process or recently completed? Has the building always been kept up? Is it a neglected treasure?

Architecture: Cite unusual architectural details – photos help!

Captions: Annotate the photos, so we know what we’re seeing.

Press Clips: Include any newspaper or magazine articles about your nominee.

Press Contacts: List local newspapers, TV or radio who should be sent releases about your nominee

Building Contacts: Please list the owner or manager, so they can be invited to the ball.
Don’t be shy! List your name so we can thank you for your efforts, and let you know immediately if your nominee wins!

Use the Form: It will help you to include all the details. Click here for PDF version.

As the Art Deco Society of California, our preservation awards go all over the state. They reflect a mix of public and private buildings, as well as individuals who have preserved the art and culture of this era. Awards are given to individuals or businesses as well as to buildings. We also appreciate updates on any of our former award winners. Let us know if you have news or questions.

 

 

 

 

© Art Deco Society of California