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Catalog Data

Former owner:
Phillips, Waite  Search this
Delk, Edward Beuhler  Search this
Landscape architect:
Hare & Hare  Search this
Philbrook Museum of Art  Search this
Collection Collector:
Marchand, Richard  Search this
1 Slides (photographs)
Archival materials
Slides (photographs)
United States of America -- Oklahoma -- Tulsa
Villa Philbrook (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Philbrook Museum of Art is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the former Waite Phillips estate. The museum housed in the Villa Philbrook, an Italianate mansion surrounded by of 25 acres of gardens. The estate was created for the wealthy oilman and philanthropist Waite Phillips (1883-1964) and his wife Genevieve Elliott Phillips (1887-1979) and their two children in 1926-1927. The gardens around the mansion were the result of a collaboration of the owners, the house's architect, and the firm of Hare & Hare, Landscape Architects & City Planners. To complement Delk's architectural designs, the garden design combined French, and English garden iconography with inspiration from Villa Lante, an Italian country estate by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola in 1566. They followed Renaissance models with features such as formal gardens, cascading water feature, rock garden and pond terminated by a tempietto. The main emphasis was placed on the East Formal Garden, which was designed on axis with the villa's grand hall. The Italian preference for a predominately green palette was achieved with beds of English ivy, low hedges of Chinese privet, clipped spheres of bay or boxwood and tall red cedars chosen to mimic Italian cypress. Beyond the formal garden stretches a pastoral grove. Important to Genevie Philips was a scheme that featured plants native to the area. Specimens were collected from the native woods on the property, and used in along the flagstone walkways, in borders, and on slopes near house. Yuccas, cedars, dogwood, elder, and serviceberry were among the varieties incorporated into the Italianate design. Structures found throughout the gardens include the Tempietto, the Summer House built in 1933, fountains in the East Formal Garden, the grotto, and a fireplace. To design their home, the Philips commissioned a Kansas City architect, Edward Buehler Delk (1885–1956), as well as designing Villa Philmonte for their ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, and the Philtower office building in downtown Tulsa. For Villa Philbrook, Delk interpreted the most fashionable styles of the day in his plans for the 72-room Italian Renaissance villa. It is situated high on the property, overlooking the gardens and to get the breezes in warmer months. The façade of the house is unpretentious with spare use of classical ornament. The house and grounds are linked by the addition of arches and windows, which frame views of the garden, as well as a loggia and terrace that overlooks the most formal of the gardens. After only eleven years living at Philbrook, the Philips family donated the estate to the community to become Tulsa's first art museum. The house underwent major renovations, and the landscape architecture firm, Hare and Hare, were brought back in to work on the conversion of the gardens from private to public. In 1939 the Philbrook Art Museum (later Philbrook Museum of Art) opened to the public. The gardens were briefly used as a botanical garden concerned with the development, preservation and exhibition of native species to Oklahoma and the Southwest. From 2002-2004, Howell & Vancuren designed another major garden renovation with the support of the Philips family. The Philips also gave Villa Philmonte and the Philmont Ranch to the Boy Scouts of America, and today both institutions continue to serve their communities. Contributions to the construction of Villa Philbrook were made by multiple craftspeople and artists including George Gibbs, Oscar Bach, Bertram Segar, Cooper & Gentiluomo, Edward F. Caldwell & Co., and Jørgen Dreyer. Persons associated include: Waite and Genevieve Phillips (former owner), Edward Buehler Delk (architect), S. Herbert Hare of Hare & Hare, Landscape Architects & City Planners (landscape architect), Howell & Vancuren (landscape architects), and Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc. (owner).
Postcard circa 1930-1950.
Varying Form:
Also known as Philbrook Art Museum and Philbrook Museum of Art.
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Gardens -- Oklahoma -- Tulsa  Search this
Formal gardens  Search this
Parterres  Search this
Museums  Search this
Terraces  Search this
Groves  Search this
Naturalized plantings  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Richard Marchand historical postcard collection.
AAG.MAR, File OK001
See more items in:
Richard Marchand historical postcard collection (35mm slides)
Richard Marchand historical postcard collection (35mm slides) / Oklahoma
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens