The exotic and wildly imaginative design for the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio, created between 1917 and 1923 by artist Robert Chanler, features painted plaster reliefs of fantastical sea creatures on the ceiling and an extraordinary fireplace engulfed in three-dimensional plaster and bronze flames stretching twenty feet high. Today the building is a National Historic Landmark and houses the New York Studio School in NYC's Greenwich Village.
Included in the 2012 World Monuments Watch to call attention to the important conservation needs of the Whitney Studio, WMF has worked with the New York Studio School for many years to understand more fully the original decorative campaign conceived for the room. In 2013, WMF invited NYU's Institute of Fine Arts to study the decorative plaster surrounding the fireplace. Join us for a discussion on this astonishing room, a hidden treasure with a remarkable history. WMF and the graduate students who completed this project will reveal their findings about the artistic practice of Robert Chanler.
Bonnie Burnham, president and chief executive of the World Monuments Fund, joined the organization as executive director in 1985 and was named president in 1996. The World Monuments Fund is a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered ancient and historic sites around the world.
Burnham, who holds degrees in art history from the University of Florida and the Sorbonne, previously served as executive director of the International Foundation for Art Research. She has been honored as a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, is a Distinguished Alumna of the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida, and is the first recipient of its Beinecke-Reeves Distinguished Achievement Award in Historic Preservation. She received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Florida Southern College in 2009.
Burnham has served on the boards of the National Institute of Conservation and the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation. She is currently on the board of the New York Studio School, a Trustee of the Butler Fund for the Environment, and a member of the United States Commission for UNESCO and the Board of Advocates, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida.
Mary Jablonski, Principal / Conservator, has a Master's Degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University's Historic Preservation Program. For five years Mary worked at a structural engineering firm that specialized in the restoration of historic structures. The focus of her current work includes: historic structure reports; historic material investigations; compliance with landmarks regulations; development of technical treatment specifications. Mary has special interests in finishes and modern materials. Ms. Jablonski is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC).
She is a past Chair of the Architecture Specialty of Group of the AIC. Mary currently sits on the board of APTNE and serves as an ex-officio Board Member of US ICOMOS.
Michele D. Marincola is Sherman Fairchild Chairman and Professor of Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU; Conservator, The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (part-time); Conservation Consultant, Villa La Pietra
Frank Sanchis is World Monuments Fund Program Director for the United States.