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Music Room Leitmotifs at the New Fellowship House

Posted On February 25, 2015 | 14:47 pm | by jamesc | Permalink
James N. Carder (March 2015)


Panels Installed at the Fellowship House, Buffet, Fourth Floor. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.OB.Misc.058–062).

Artworks were recently installed at the new Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship House on Wisconsin Avenue. As part of this project, five commissioned panels were set into the black granite above the buffet counter of the fourth-floor conference room. The designs of these painted panels are details taken from the beams of the Dumbarton Oaks Music Room ceiling. The intent in choosing these Music Room details was two-fold: to employ abstract imagery that would harmonize with the contemporary, clean-edge conception of the Fellowship House, while at the same time referencing the well-loved tradition of the historical Dumbarton Oaks. The five panels at the Fellowship House are objects accessioned in the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.

In 2007, the Music Room ceiling had undergone a major restoration that allowed not only for the installation of a fire-suppression sprinkler system within the ceiling beams, but also for a complete restitution of damaged or badly preserved areas. As part of this restoration campaign, templates were made of the beam designs to facilitate the necessary repainting, and at the end of the campaign, these templates also became part of the Archives collection. It is from these templates that the designs for the Fellowship House panels were chosen, and they were painted in 2014 at the studio of the New York firm Foreground Conservation and Decorative Arts by two artists who also had worked on the ceiling restoration.

Restoration of Music Room Ceiling Using Templates, 2007
Restoration of Music Room Ceiling Using Templates, 2007