Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stéphane Boudin / Jackie Kennedy ... Designing Camelot.

Stéphane Boudin (1888–1967) was a French interior designer and a president of Maison Jansen, the influential Paris-based interior decorating firm.

Boudin is best known for being asked by U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to join American antiques expert Henry Francis du Pont of the Winterthur Museum and interior designer Sister Parish in the renovation and restoration of the White House from 1961 to 1963. After Boudin Impressed the first lady with his initial work in the Red and Blue rooms, Mrs. Kennedy gave him increasing control of the redecoration project, to the consternation of du Pont and Parish.

Jansen is known for designing interiors for Elsie de Wolfe, the royal families of Belgium and Iran, the German Reichsbank during the period of National Socialism, and Leeds Castle in Kent for its last owner, Lady Olive Baillie. He also decorated Les Ormes, the Washington, D.C. home of Perle Mesta, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, and her sister, Marguerite Tyson; the house and its furnishings eventually were purchased by Lyndon B. Johnson. The Johnsons hired Genevieve Hendricks to integrate a touch of Texas into the Boudin decor because, as Time quoted Johnson as saying, "Every time somebody calls it a château, I lose 50,000 votes back in Texas."

 Stephane Boudin
By Innis Desborough

Stephane Boudin, a Parisian interior designer is well-known as the President of what is considered by many to be the world's leading interior decorating firm in the 20th century - Maison Jansen. One of Boudin's greatest projects as an interior designer was the restoration and renovation of the White House in the early 1960s.

Stephane Boudin was born in 1880. His father - Alexandre Boudin was a manufacturer of passementerie and trimming. It was while Stphane was working at his father's textile trimming business in the 1920s, that he was approached by Jean-Henri Jansen, the founder of Maison Jansen. In 1925, Boudin got an assistant by the name of Monsieur Henry Samuel. Following Jansen's death in 1928, Stphane Boudin along with Gaston Schwartz, took control over all Maison Jansen's interior design and decoration projects. While Schwartz contributed aspects of modernism, Boudin was the traditionalist.

Boudin helped the firm win several new interior design projects by giving importance to historical accuracy and detail, and through his adeptness at creating spaces that were both dramatic and unforgettable. He efficiently schooled the firm's young protgs, reviewed their work on a regular basis, and arranged trips for them to Europe.

The most significant order which Boudin received was most probably the one he got prior to his retirement - the order from Jacqueline Kennedy to work on the interiors of the White House (1961-63). Jayne Wrightsman - the woman who introduced Boudin to Jackie - was personally tutored by Boudin in French decorative arts.

Jacqueline wanted a touch of the international to be added to the American look of the White House, and Boudin was entrusted with the task of making this desire a reality. In addition, Boudin and Henry du Pont were enlisted with the duty of getting antiques, and of lending sophistication and thoroughness to the dcor.

Boudin mainly focused on the American Empire style when furnishing the Red Room of the White House. He included pieces made by Charles-Honor Lannuier, a cabinetmaker. In the case of the Blue Room, Boudin laid emphasis on furnishing it with furniture of the French empire style. The style for the Green Room, namely the Federal Style, was chosen by Henry du Pont, influenced by Boudin. Boudin also introduced changes in the dcor of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.

Another important interior design project which Boudin was entrusted with in his lifetime was to completely change the famous Leeds castle into a stylish country residence. It was the last private owner of the castle - Lady Baillie who entrusted him with this task.

Stephane Boudin retired in his seventies and passed away in 1967 - his successor was Pierre Delbe.

Following in the footsteps of the pioneers of interior decorating are skilled and highly qualified interior stylists and designers who often use art created with Watercolour Paper and Paints as part of a decorative scheme.

 Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration
James A. Abbott, Elaine M. Rice
John Wiley and Sons, 25 sep. 1997 - 260 pagina's
"Perhaps one of the finest commentaries on American decorative arts ever published." William Seale White House Historian Designing Camelot The Kennedy White House Restoration James A. Abbott - Elaine M. Rice "From the moment President John F. Kennedy took the oath of office, his administration was characterized as having style," write authors James Abbott and Elaine Rice in their exquisite new book Designing Camelot. Nowhere was the "Kennedy style" more evident than in the rooms in which the young President and his wife Jacqueline lived and worked between 1961 and 1963, as America witnessed the transformation of its premier residence from "home of the President" to "house-museum." Designing Camelot is the first book to document the restoration of the White House by Jacqueline Kennedy and her advisors--the most significant and extensive to date. Under the watchful eye of the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, chaired by famed antiquarian Henry Francis du Pont and, unbeknownst to the American public, French interior designer Stephane Boudin and his firm Jansen, the White House became a model for historic houses all over America. Many of the country's governors' mansions were renovated as state First Ladies strove to emulate the efforts of a sophisticated Jacqueline Kennedy. Through rich anecdotes and a stunning collection of four-color and black and white photographs, Designing Camelot illustrates the rich interiors of the White House, while at the same time exploring the restoration as an extension of the Kennedy/Camelot legacy. Individual chapters examine the White House room by room inviting a look at not only familiar public places like the Oval Office and West Wing, but the Kennedys' private quarters as well. Kennedy enthusiasts, interior designers, architects, collectors, history buffs, preservationists, museum professionals, and White House watchers alike will enjoy this intimate look at the taste and style of Jacqueline Kennedy, the most watched First Lady of America, and the relationship between an extraordinary client and her designers. Far beyond the mere selection of furniture and fabrics, the renovation of the White House reflected the desire of the Kennedys--Jacqueline Kennedy in particular--to associate themselves with a grand historical past, and their efforts to enhance the entire atmosphere surrounding the Presidency. Designing Camelot captures this incredible era as never before, and offers a unique insight into the collective Kennedy mind and personality.

How Camelot Got Designed: Jackie Kennedy’s Visit to Winterthur
Jackie Kennedy’s Francophile tendencies and Stéphane Boudin’s role in the White House redecoration

Posted on September 21, 2011 in
Maggie Lidz is Winterthur’s estate historian and curator of garden objects. She collects 1950s and ’60s interior design books and is especially interested in 20th-century flower arranging.

May 8, 1961, was a historic day at Winterthur. The museum’s founder, Henry Francis du Pont, had been tapped earlier by First Lady Jackie Kennedy to chair her committee to refurnish the White House, and she had come to the museum for lunch and a tour.

Among du Pont’s first acts as chair had been to appoint Winterthur curator John Sweeney to the committee. Sweeney’s fascinating memories of his role were recorded at Winterthur before his death in 2007. Among his most vivid recollections was leading Mrs. Kennedy on the tour of Winterthur that day in May.

The first lady’s visit was ostensibly private, but du Pont had a specific purpose in mind when he invited her. Sweeney remembered him saying, “I don’t know Mrs. Kennedy very well. Of course I have known her mother all her life, but I have a feeling that her real interest is in French things, and she does not believe that you can have a really swell house with American furniture. I wanted her to see that you can.”

Du Pont tried to limit the hoopla around the occasion and forbade photographers from accompanying them around Winterthur. Sweeney recalled one staffer lamenting, “Isn’t this something! A Public Relations person’s dream to have the most famous woman in the world coming to Winterthur, and I can’t do anything about it!”

Sweeney was a wide-eyed participant throughout the day. “[Mrs. Kennedy] came with an entourage, with the wife of a Senator from Oklahoma [Florence Mahoney], Jayne Wrightsman, and Mary Lasker, who was a sweetheart of a lady,” he said. “They arrived at the airport at New Castle, and H. F. went down to pick her up. They came back for lunch, and we had a little cocktail party first at the Pavilion (newly opened), and the Museum Trustees were all invited to meet her. H. F. felt he had to be polite to the Trustees. His general attitude was that she was coming for lunch, and he didn’t see any reason for there to be publicity about it or any excitement. You know the whole world was standing outside waiting to see her.

“We had a very nice lunch, and after lunch we went through the house and gardens, and then she stayed on for an early dinner with the du Ponts. They went right back to Washington after dinner. All sorts of stories about that day. I was 31 years old and she was 32. I mean we were kids playing house so to speak!”

Lunch (cold stuffed eggs, squab guinea, hot asparagus in butter, carrots, apple pie a la mode) began as an ordeal. “I was seated right next to Mrs. Kennedy, on her right,” said Sweeney. “I was quite shocked to know that I was going to be seated next to her. I thought, what in the world would I talk to her about? But Mr. du Pont said, ‘She is going to be on the committee with us, and you should get to know her.’ I remember talking a lot about her dog. I wouldn’t say it was a relaxed lunch for me, because, after all, [on my left was] Mrs. Copeland, the wife of the Chairman of the Board, so there I was squeezed between these two powerful ladies. We all survived.”

After lunch, Sweeney led a two-and-a-half-hour tour of the museum, hoping to counterbalance his guest’s overt Francophilia: “It was the way she looked at the world. She studied in Paris. She was at the Sorbonne when she was college age. That was generally her taste. She was definitely influenced by Mrs. Wrightsman who was a great collector of French furniture, and it was Mrs. Wrightsman who recommended [Stéphane] Boudin to her when she was working on her house in Georgetown before they ever were in the White House. I do remember she used French terms. She said ‘cheminee’ instead of ‘andirons’—thinking of French forms rather than American. Of course, the clue to the furnishings of the White House was the Monroe furniture, which was ordered in Paris by President Monroe and [was] the key to furnishings in the Blue Room.”

Leeds Castle

The last private owner of the castle was the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, a daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough, and his first wife, Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress. Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926. She redecorated the interior, first working with the French architect and designer Armand-Albert Rateau (who also oversaw exterior alterations as well as adding interior features such as a 16th century-style carved-oak staircase) and then, later, with the Paris decorator Stéphane Boudin. During the early part of World War II Leeds was used as a hospital where Lady Baillie and her daughters hosted burned Commonwealth airmen as part of their recovery. Survivors remember the experience with fondness to this day. Upon her death in 1974, Lady Baillie left the castle to the Leeds Castle Foundation, a private charitable trust whose aim is to preserve the castle and grounds for the benefit of the public. The castle was opened to the public in 1976.

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