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Nashville -- Cheekwood

Former owner:
Cheek, Mabel  Search this
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
Sharp, Walter, Mrs.  Search this
Sharp, Walter  Search this
Architect:
Fleming, Bryant  Search this
Landscape architect:
Fleming, Bryant  Search this
Coile, W. James  Search this
Callicott, P. Duncan  Search this
Sartor, Carolyn S.  Search this
Kevin Tucker and Associates  Search this
Horticulturist:
Andrews, Jenny  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
Cheekwood (Nashville, Tennessee)
United States of America -- Tennessee -- Davidson County -- Nashville
Scope and Contents:
Materials relating to the public gardens of the Tennessee Botanical Gardens and Fine Arts Center, located in Nashville, Tennessee. The folder includes a slide list, brochures of Cheekwood, plans of the property, excerpts from publications featuring the property, and a worksheet and description completed by GCA researchers Richard C. Page and Cynthia Wall.
General:
"Once the private estate of the Leslie Cheek family, of the Maxwell House Coffee forturne, Cheekwood is a stunning example of an elegant lifestyle. The three-story neo-Georgian mansion features architectural treasures from some of the great houses of Europe, selected by the Cheeks and their archictect, Bryant Fleming."
"Outstanding ornaments include towering mahogany doors, an Adam mantel of lapis lazuli, a magnificent staircase, brilliant chandeliers, and trompe l'oeil paintings to panel the walls. Today, the 55-acre Cheek Estate is a lasting tribute to one of the wealthiest eras in American history. Its stately mansion, built in 1929 with Tennessee limestone quarried on the property, is surrounded by breathtaking grounds designed by the Cheeks' landscape architect. The original gardens feature marble sculptures, water gardens, bubbling streams and grand vistas."
"Guests continue to marvel at the historical Bryant Fleming landscape. Surrounding his design are 11 principal botanical garden areas - the award winning Howe Wildflower Garden, an Herb Study Garden, the Wills Perennial Garden, the Carell Dogwood Trail and a traditional Japanese Garden. Botanic Hall features horticultural exhibits, flower shows, and the popular Trees of Christmas celebration every December. There is no better place to experience the season of Middle Tennessee."
Persons associated with the property include: Bryant Fleming (architect and landscape architect); W. James Coile (landscape architect); P. Duncan Callicott (landscape architect); Carolyn S. Sartor (landscape architect); Kevin Tucker and Associates (landscape architects); Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cheek (former owners); Mr. and Mrs. Walter Sharp (former owners); and Jenny Andrews (horticulturist).
The folders include two slides of Cheekwood brochures and two slides from an article in Country Life magazine.
Related Materials:
Cheekwood related holdings consist of 2 folders (44 35 mm. slides)
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: aag@si.edu.
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.
Topic:
Gardens -- Tennessee -- Nashville  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, File TN045
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Tennessee
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref10954

Leslie Cheek letter to Edward Hopper

Creator:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-1992  Search this
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967  Search this
Subject:
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  Search this
Type:
Correspondence
Date:
1953 February 13
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)20928
See more items in:
Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries records, 1858-1969, bulk 1919-1968
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_20928
Online Media:

Leslie Cheek papers

Topic:
House beautiful
Architectural forum
Creator:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
Names:
Baltimore Museum of Art  Search this
For us the living (1940-1942 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
United States. Army. Camouflage Training Unit  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Rockefeller, Abby Aldrich  Search this
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979  Search this
Extent:
4.2 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 1 reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1940-1983
bulk 1940-1942
Scope and Contents:
Papers, ca. 1938-1988, including files kept during Cheek's tenure as director at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1939-1942, as editor at "Architectural Forum" magazine, 1945-1947, "House Beautiful" magazine, 1947-1942, and as head of the U.S. Army Camouflage Training Unit, 1942-1945. Also included are files related to projects he undertook from 1968 to 1988, following his tenure as Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Biographical / Historical:
Leslie Cheek (1908-1992) was a museum director and editor in Virginia. Cheek studied Fine Arts and was trained in architecture and stage design. His work as director of the Baltimore Museum of Art was marked by innovative and theatrical exhibitions, and led to his selection by the trustees of the Museum of Modern Art as curator for a planned exhibit "For Us The Living," regarding the rise of Nazism and fascism in Europe.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives are papers lent for microfilming on reel 4885 including material concerning the proposed exhibition, "For Us the Living," designed by Cheek with text written by Lewis Mumford for the Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit was never installed. Included are correspondence with Mumford, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, Alfred Barr, and others; draft "scenarios" or exhibition narratives; sketches; and blueprints, 1940-1942. Also included is Cheek's 1983 correspondence with American Heritage magazine regarding a proposed article about the exhibition.
Provenance:
Material on reel 4885 was lent for microfilming in 1993 by Mary Tyler Cheek, widow of Leslie Cheek. She donated the unmicrofilmed material, 1993. Mrs. Cheek deposited additional papers in the College of William and Mary (where Cheek had founded the Fine Arts Department in 1936), the Virginia State Library, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm.
Occupation:
Museum directors  Search this
Editors  Search this
Designers  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Periodicals  Search this
Exhibitions -- Design  Search this
Function:
Art museums
Identifier:
AAA.cheelesl
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cheelesl

Florence Knoll Bassett papers

Creator:
Knoll, Florence, 1917-  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Cranbrook Kingswood School (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)  Search this
Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company  Search this
Knoll Associates, inc.  Search this
Knoll International, inc.  Search this
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984  Search this
Graham, Katharine, 1917-  Search this
Helm, John  Search this
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005  Search this
Knoll, Walter C.  Search this
Miller, R. Craig  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Raseman, Rachel de Wolfe  Search this
Reagan, Nancy, 1923-  Search this
Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961  Search this
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950  Search this
Slavin, Maeve  Search this
Extent:
2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Date:
1932-2000
Summary:
The papers of architect and designer Florence Knoll Bassett, measure approximately 2 linear feet dating from 1932 to 2000. Through correspondence, sketches, drawings, designs, subject files, photographs, and printed material, the collection selectively documents Knoll Bassett's education, her work with Knoll Associates from the 1940s until her resignation in 1965, and projects undertaken since her retirement. It is an important source of information on the development of interior architecture and design from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of architect, and interior designer and planner Florence Knoll Bassett, measure approximately 2 linear feet dating from 1932 to 2000. The collection selectively documents Knoll Bassett's education and her career at Knoll Associates, Inc. from the 1940s until her resignation in 1965, in addition to personal design projects and other activities after leaving the company. It is an important source of information on the development of interior architecture and design from the 1940s to the 1970s, chronicling the Knoll mission to synthesize space, furniture, and design by creating interiors based on practical use, comfort, and aesthetics.

The collection documents the growth of Knoll's international reputation for its modern furnishings and interiors and the impact of a business philosophy that encompassed design excellence, technological innovation, and mass production. The material includes a chronology of Knoll Bassett's career; a portfolio of sketches, drawings and designs; photographs of Knoll Bassett and others; subject files containing sketches and photographic material; letters from friends, colleagues, clients and others; awards received by Knoll Bassett throughout her career; and printed material.

Much of the material is annotated with historical and biographical notes written by Knoll Bassett which provide invaluable contextual information for the materials found therein. The notes are dated 1999 in the Container Listing, under the assumption that they were written by Florence Knoll Bassett as she was arranging her archival papers.
Arrangement:
Before donating her papers to the Archives of American Art, Knoll Bassett organized the material in portfolios and color-coded files and designed four containers for them. Because the method of arrangement in itself provides insight into Knoll Bassett's style and creativity the collection has been minimally processed with the addition of acid-free materials for preservation reasons and the transcription of labels which may, over time, become detached. The original order of the collection has been retained throughout.

The collection was organized into what Bassett termed "storage units," the first container being divided into three units and the collection as a whole being divided into six units. Knoll Bassett supplied a detailed inventory of the contents of each container and the subjects represented in each porfolio or folder. Subject headings from this inventory have been used in the Series Description/Container Listing. Knoll Bassett also supplied a vita summarizing her career and copies of this, and her original container inventory are enclosed with the collection and can be consulted at AAA's research center in Washington D.C.

The collection is arranged as seven series. These series represent the categories into which Knoll Bassett organized the material, with the exception that Letters and Awards are presented as two series in the finding aid. Most of the items in Series 1 to 4 are presented as portfolios in spiral-bound notebooks and the remainder of the collection is organized in folders.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1932-1999 (Box 1; 1 portfolio)

Series 2: Selected Publications, 1946-1990, 1999 (Box 1; 1 portfolio)

Series 3: Drawings, Sketches, and Designs, 1932-1984, 1999 (Boxes 1-2; 2 portfolios)

Series 4: Photographs and Printed Material, 1956-1997, 1999 (Box 2; 1 portfolio)

Series 5: Subject Files, circa 1930s-1999 (Box 3; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 6: Letters, circa 1930s-2000 (Box 4; 7 folders)

Series 7: Awards, 1954-1999 (Box 4; 6 folders)
Biographical Note:
Florence Knoll Bassett was born Florence Schust in 1917 and was affectionately known as Shu by her colleagues and friends. She was orphaned at age 12 and then cared for by Emile Tessin, a friend of the family whom her mother had appointed as Florence's legal guardian in the event of her death. When arrangements were being made for Florence to attend boarding school she was given the opportunity to make the selection. Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, held a strong aesthetic appeal for her and she "made an immediate decision that it was the right place for me," beginning her architectural studies under the school's art director, Rachel de Wolfe Raseman.

At Kingswood Knoll Bassett met the Saarinen family, studying under Eliel Saarinen and developing her interest in texture and color through her friendship with Loja Saarinen who supervised the school's weaving studio. Following Florence's graduation from Kingswood in 1934, Eliel Saarinen encouraged her to spend some time at Cranbrook Academy of Art before attending an accredited architecture school. She spent the next two years at Cranbrook working closely with advanced students and artists such as the Saarinens and Carl Milles, and gaining experience in all aspects of design.

Knoll Bassett then studied for two years at the Architectural Association in London, spending summers with the Saarinens in Europe. She completed her formal training at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she studied under Mies van der Rohe, whom she credits with having "a profound effect on my design approach and the clarification of design."

After graduation Knoll Bassett worked for architecture firms in Boston and New York where she met Hans Knoll who was then in the process of establishing a furniture business. In 1943 she began working for him in her spare time as an interior space planner and designer. In 1946 the two were married and formed Knoll Associates, Inc.

As director of the Knoll Planning Unit, Knoll Bassett established herself as one of the most important and influential interior planners and designers of the second half of the twentieth century. Believing that intelligent design "strikes at the root of living requirements and changing habits," she established the practice of working closely with the corporate sector to determine the needs of the people who would actually use the spaces that her company designed. Her connections with leading contemporary architects and designers, and the company's commitment to crediting designers by name and paying them royalties, laid the foundations for the strong working relationships upon which the commercial success of Knoll Associates was built. Drawing on a pool of top architects and designers, many of whom were personal friends, Knoll Bassett directed the company's Bauhaus approach, incorporating design excellence, technological innovation, and mass production in a seamless package of "total design."

While Knoll Bassett oversaw the creative process of the Planning Unit's operations in its entirety, she was also directly responsible for many of the individual elements used in the Unit's projects. During the war years, she worked with her designers to overcome the scarcity of materials, establishing Knoll Textiles in response to the dearth of available fabrics and textile colors, and developing the company's hallmark style of spare clean lines and vibrant colors in a functional, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing space. Finding that much of the "fill-in" furniture, primarily cabinetry, that she envisaged in many of her plans was not available, Knoll Bassett designed the pieces herself. She used the Knoll showrooms as "experimental laboratories" to convince clients to use modern ideas and materials, showcasing and putting into production the classic designs of people such as Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, Jens Risom, Harry Bertoia, Isamu Noguchi, and Marcel Breuer.

After the war Knoll Associates expanded to Europe through a series of government contracts which resulted ultimately in the formation of Knoll International. When Hans Knoll died suddenly in an automobile accident in 1955 Florence became president of the company. She married Harry Hood Bassett in 1958 and began to divide her time between New York and Florida. In 1959 she sold her interest in Knoll Associates to Art Metal and retired as President of the company the following year, while continuing to work as a consultant and serving as Design Director. In 1961 she became the first woman to be awarded the Gold Medal for Industrial Design by the American Institute of Architects, one of many awards received over the course of her career. In 1965 she resigned from Knoll Associates entirely after completing the interior design for the CBS headquarters in New York.

Following her retirement Knoll Bassett devoted more time to private commissions and other interests such as her campaign against billboards in Miami in the mid 1980s. She spent summers in Vermont and winters in Florida with her husband, until his death in 1991. In July 2001, Metropolis magazine published a rare interview with Knoll Bassett in which she reflects upon the life she so skillfully documented in the extraordinary gift of her archival papers to the Archives of American Art.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Florence Knoll Bassett in 2000.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Interior decoration firms  Search this
Interior decorators  Search this
Furniture designers  Search this
Architects  Search this
Women architects  Search this
Interior decoration  Search this
Design, Industrial  Search this
Women designers  Search this
Designers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Florence Knoll Bassett papers, 1932-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.knolflor
See more items in:
Florence Knoll Bassett papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-knolflor
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Leslie Cheek

Interviewee:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
Interviewer:
Pennington, Estill Curtis  Search this
Extent:
38 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1982 June 8
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Leslie Cheek conducted 1982 June 8, by Buck Pennington, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Leslie Cheek (1908-1992) was a director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 26 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Topic:
Museum directors -- Virginia -- Richmond -- Interviews  Search this
Function:
Art museums -- Virginia -- Richmond
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.cheek82
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cheek82

Oral history interview with Leslie Cheek interview

Creator:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Interviewer:
Doud, Richard Keith  Search this
Names:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Extent:
5 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Date:
1964 March 9
Scope and Contents:
A summary by Richard Doud of an interview he conducted of Leslie Cheek for the Archives of American Art.
Cheek discusses theatre in Virginia; the Federal Theatre Project; and the WPA.
Biographical / Historical:
Leslie Cheek (1908-1992) was the director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond, Virginia.
Provenance:
Conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Restrictions:
Use requires an appointment.
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Museum directors -- Virginia -- Richmond -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.cheek64
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cheek64

Oral history interview with Leslie Cheek, 1982 June 8

Interviewee:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Pennington, Estill Curtis  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Museum directors -- Virginia -- Richmond -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13290
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212589
AAA_collcode_cheek82
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212589

Oral history interview with Leslie Cheek interview, 1964 March 9

Interviewee:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Doud, Richard Keith  Search this
Subject:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Museum directors -- Virginia -- Richmond -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13198
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)214159
AAA_collcode_cheek64
Theme:
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_214159

Leslie Cheek papers, 1940-1983, bulk 1940-1942

Creator:
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-1992  Search this
Subject:
Mumford, Lewis  Search this
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich)  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr.  Search this
Rockefeller, Abby Aldrich  Search this
Baltimore Museum of Art  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
United States  Search this
For us the living  Search this
Topic:
House beautiful  Search this
Architectural forum  Search this
Art -- Periodicals  Search this
Exhibitions -- Design  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6457
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215609
AAA_collcode_cheelesl
Theme:
Communities, Organizations, Museums
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215609

Designing for the arts : environments by Leslie Cheek / a photo essay with text by K. Richmond Temple ; foreword by J. Carter Brown ; afterword by Guy Friddell

Author:
Temple, K. Richmond  Search this
Subject:
Cheek, Leslie 1908- Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts History  Search this
Physical description:
265 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 x 30 cm
Type:
Books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Place:
Virginia
Richmond
Date:
1990
©1990
Topic:
Art--Exhibition techniques--History  Search this
Art--Exhibition techniques  Search this
Call number:
CT275.C492 T2 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_463503

Living by design : Leslie Cheek and the arts : a photobiography / by Parke Rouse, Jr. ; foreword by John Walker ; afterword by John Canaday ; design by Raymond Geary

Author:
Rouse, Parke 1915-1997  Search this
Subject:
Cheek, Leslie 1908-  Search this
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts History  Search this
Physical description:
197 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 x 30 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Virginia
Date:
1985
C1985
Topic:
Art museum directors--Biography  Search this
Call number:
CT275.C492 R8 1985
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_421597

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