Paintings of landscapes #7

Copy of 6 mccormick_mansion

This painting is the central panel of a triptych depicting the pool area of an abandoned mansion in Lake Forest, Illinois (an old luxury suburb of Chicago). The mansion was completed in 1912 by Mrs. Edith Rockefeller McCormick and her husband. She of the Standard Oil family and he of the International Harvester company. The full story of the mansion (with lots of pictures!) can be found here on this fascinating website. It is well worth a visit if you are interested in such history.

When I was a teenager my friends and I would sneak onto the property to check it out. Further inflating the allure of this site I read that F. Scott Fitzgerald attended a party there. At that time I was binging on his books, so I had fun imagining it in its glittering past.

One cold day in late winter I went there by myself and snapped a roll of pictures which were developed onto slides that I carried around with me as I moved to NYC and through a succession of apartments. Eventually, I was able to find a scanner and get some decent prints, but by then the slides had taken on this blue tint, which, happily, I quite liked for painting.

This panel shows the bathhouse, which is located at the foot of a high bluff. What was left of the swimming pool was sagging into Lake Michigan by the time I saw it. Inside the bathhouse was a long spooky tunnel leading to an elevator linking it to the main house, which had long since been demolished.

The panels are 18” x 24”, each, on canvas mounted on wood. I will post the other two panels in the next few weeks. In the meantime, checkout my website.

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3 thoughts on “Paintings of landscapes #7

  1. great painting, and a fascinating story of the mansion. I am always intrigued by old abandoned buildings. they seem to carry clear messages of how ephemeral our earthly dreams are.

    • Thank you for your comments. For me the recent partial restoration of the property by a private kills the romance of the place. While it is an interesting project, I think the whole point was lost. If I found myself there today I can’t imagine it would elicit and emotional response, whereas the original ruin seemed filled with ghosts.

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