Compilation Art

The Wolfsonian–Florida International University’s recent discovery of a lost 1936 oil painting by Lloyd Morgan, chief designer of Schultze & Weaver, was an odd and welcome revelation to scholars of the New York–based architecture firm. Jonathan Mogul, a curatorial research associate at the museum, believes that the 6-by-14-foot canvas, a sort of greatest-hits collection of the firm’s work, was once displayed conspicuously in its offices, but it eventually ended up in a family member’s basement. “It was his life’s work,” Beth Kephart, the architect’s grandniece, wrote last year on her blog. “None of our walls were ever big enough to hold it.”

The piece wasn’t unearthed for the Wolfsonian’s 2005 exhibition on Schultze & Weaver’s famed hotels—including the Pierre, the Waldorf-Astoria, and the Sherry-Netherland, the New York trio dominating the painting—but the family stepped forward soon afterward, donating the piece after paying for a costly restoration. The massive work, done in the classically influenced Deco style of the firm’s buildings, now hangs prominently in a permanent gallery. “I have never seen anything similar,” Mogul says. “This is a pretty rare kind of piece.”

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