You know that I am a big fan of fellow Baltimorean, and even more specifically, fellow Roland Park native, Billy Baldwin. His family lived just blocks from the house where I was raised and from the house where my mother and her family were raised. It’s entirely possible that some of her family knew some of his family, because Baltimore’s like that. On Thursday, May 20th, Evergreen House and Museum opens an exhibit entitled “Baltimore’ Billy Baldwin”, with the opening reception that evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. RSVP here.
The description of the exhibition reads as follows:
The exhibition is organized around vignettes representing three of Baldwin’s most important Maryland commissions—rooms he created for friend Harvey Ladew, the artistic Voss family and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Spanning three decades, these very different interiors illustrate Baldwin’s maturation as a designer and show the influences of modernism and technicolor Victorian revivalism of the 1920s and 1930s, which inevitably gave way to a sophisticated and comfortable post-World War II sensibility that became synonymous with Baldwin.
Known for his Southern charm, the dapper Baltimore-born designer created interiors for some of the world’s wealthiest and most celebrated people of his time: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, composer Cole Porter, actress Greta Garbo, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland were just a few who sought his exuberance and expertise.
Baldwin’s particular brand of modernism distilled traditional European influences through a crisp and efficient American filter. The resulting understated, comfortably restrained designs had such a powerful effect that his name became synonymous with American style. His choice of materials included cotton, bamboo and straw, while classic Baldwin touches were dark walls, white plaster lamps, the low armless slipper chair, plain draperies, geometrics, off-white and plaid rugs, and corner banquettes.
As with everything at Evergreen, this promises to be a fascinating exhibit and it will highlight a talented man who was well-known in Baltimore and also around the world of design and decorating.