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.
Also known as Philbrook Art Museum and Philbrook Museum of Art.
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Correspondence in this series relates primarily to exhibitions in which Kington's work was represented. Records include invitations to participate in the exhibitions and Kington's responses, details about artwork selected, general arrangements for the shows, documentation of resulting sales, and occasionally, related printed material such as announcements, catalogs and news clippings. Researchers should note that additional records relating to any of the subjects discussed in the correspondence may be found in Series 2: Subject Files.
The museums, institutions and exhibitions represented in the correspondence include the following: American Craft Museum: -- The American Craftsman -- (1964), -- Craftsmen U.S.A. -- (1966), a one-man exhibition (1969), -- Jewelry USA -- (1984), and -- American Jewelry Now -- (1985)
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science at Southern Illinois University: -- Mid-States Art Exhibition -- (1979, 1993), and the Third Biennial Exhibition (1992)
Louisville Art Gallery: -- Contemporary Iron '87 -- (1987)
Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois: -- Jewelry and Beyond -- (1984)
National Ornamental Metal Museum: one-man show (1983), -- Repair Days Reunion -- (1992), -- Lifetime Achievements: The American Craft Council College of Fellows in Metal -- (1993), -- The Blacksmithing Craft Continuum -- (1993-1994), -- All In Good Fun: Toys by Metalsmiths -- (1999), and -- Wind and Whimsy: Weathervanes and Whirligigs -- (2001)
Philbrook Museum of Art: -- The Eloquent Object -- (1988)
Southern Illinois University Museum: -- Brent Kington: A Retrospective -- , (1992)
Correspondence found here also documents matters such as requests to reproduce photographs of Kington's works in publications, information about meetings, exhibitions and other events, and letters concerning the award of fellowships and grants. There is also general correspondence from people interested in Kington's work, such as Margo Baumeler (1980) and Arthur Magill (1980).
The series contains several individual items of particular note. Correspondence relating to the 1966 Pratt Institute's Third International Miniature Print Exhibit includes a signed and numbered print by Kington entitled Self (1 of 15, 2/18/66). A 1984 letter to Ed Bachrach includes a sketch of a weathervane, and 1989 correspondence relating to a National Ornamental Metal Museum project to provide sculpture for the Memphis Botanic Gardens includes a sketch of Kington's proposed piece. The 1997-1998 correspondence folder contains copies of sketches for an exhibition of collaborative work by Brent Kington and his son, Tod, at the SNAG conference in St. Louis.
In the original arrangement correspondence was generally arranged in reverse chronological order with letters frequently attached to related correspondence going back several months or years. To preserve the relationship between such documents they have been left together and are arranged in reverse chronological order and filed in the folder corresponding to the primary date (i.e., the date of the first and most recent paper in the group). Researchers should be aware that date ranges provided on folders refer to the primary dates of documents contained therein and that some items in the folder may predate that range.
To facilitate access some correspondence that was originally separated but which overlapped chronologically has been merged.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
L. Brent Kington papers, 1944-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
This collection is comprised of a 22 x 21 inch color print on cloth made by Osage artist Gina Gray, circa 1995.
Biographical / Historical:
Gina Gray is a printmaker and painter whose work has been featured in a one-woman exhibit at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico; in the collection of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and in the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. She graduated from the Institute of American Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and attended the California Institute of the Arts, where she studied commercial art. A member of the Osage tribe, Gray currently operates a studio in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
NAA MS 1997-17
Manuscript 1997-17, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution