Friday, September 26, 2008
The Dream Garden
There is an amazing place in Philadelphia that I probably never would have known about if I hadn't lived there and worked in the city. In the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Company building, there is a mosaic mural that measures 15 feet high and 49 feet wide. Called "Dream Garden", it was created in 1916 by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios, and is based on a scene painted by Maxfield Parrish. The mosaic is made from over 100,000 pieces of art glass. It's beautiful... it glows. It's the first thing you see when you enter the lobby. This photo doesn't really do it justice. It feels like you could just walk right into that garden.
It was originally commissioned for Curtis Publishing and has been there since it was created in 1916. In 1998, Steve Wynn intended to purchase it for millions and move it to one of his casinos in Las Vegas. The response in Philadelphia was dismay, as you might imagine. I remember reading about it for weeks and weeks when I lived there, hoping they would find a way to keep it in Philadelphia. Eventually, the Pew Charitable Trust provided $3.5 million to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, who purchased it, allowing it to stay in its original setting. If you ever have a chance to see it, it's worth a stop.