Monday, June 29, 2015

Cube


The Art Gallery on the University of New England campus off of Stevens Avenue is called 'the little jewel' by some, but I just call it the Cube. My Dad once told me that a guy named John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940) built a lot of homes in the city, but at the time the man with three names meant nothing to me. After college, I read a bit more about him and found out that he really wasn't a builder, but an architect who designed over 1,000 buildings in the state of Maine. He was a major innovator in the Shingle Style and Colonial Revival style in America. His designed houses in Portland are quite attractive in their exterior, and it's not really a challenge to spot one if you know there is one on the street you are travelling. They are quite distinctive. A close family to us, the B's, owned one on Craigie Street, and I was in it quite a few times. An amazing home. So much wood. So much light. So many windows. So many nooks and crannies. I loved stopping over and seeing the Mr. and Mrs. and their home. There's a lot I didn't know about this architect though. The biggest was that besides designing homes, libraries and churches he made time to paint.  I did not know this. This past week, we visited the Cube where about 60 of his landscape paintings are on display. Most Sundays in the early 1900's found JCS and a group of fellow painters painting 'en plein air' in Delano Park near his home in Cape Elizabeth.
I was pulled to his winter scenes most of all.
He designed parts of the city.
And he 'painted the town' too.
Dramatic.

14 comments:

  1. Sculpture sort of looks like a bench where a giant might sit. :-)

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  2. I am always in awe of multi-talented people!

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  3. pretty neat 'footprint' he left on the area.

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  4. Interesting architecture. Wouldn't find that here....*sigh*

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  5. Now I am curious to know something more about him!

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  6. I'm going to look him up. He sounds like a multi-talented individual.

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  7. Most interesting. He was quite a guy although I'm suspicious of anyone with a name that starts "John Calvin" ... Heh, heh.

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  8. Wow, impressive work. I like the seascapes. I also saw some photos of homes he designed. Very nice work. I bet that show was excellent.

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  9. I like The Cube. Sounds like John Calvin was a real innovator.

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  10. I am so glad you got over to see the show!! I also was most drawn to the winter scenes. The director told us that he painted directly outdoors in winter (brrrr, right?) and that he was a very fast drawer/painter (I guess you'd have to be.). I'm looking forward to driving around sometime to see those houses on Craigie and some of the other streets. And how about that stone sculpture?!!!

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