October 19, 2007

Van Day Truex

I was shopping for some books for my niece, who turns three later this month. I got a selection of pig-themed books, although I realize that she might not understand the significance. While I was at the bookstore, I was browsing their design selection and found a book on Van Day Truex (1904-1979), titled Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style. Albert Hadley wrote the preface to the book. This isn't a gossipy, tell-all book, rather a text on classical design in the mid-20th century, as well as on the society of the day.

VDT was the president of the Parsons School of Design and later the design director at Tiffany & Co. He also lived in Paris between the two world wars. Early in the book, VDT's design mantra is revealed: Control. Edit. Distill. I am still working on all three! There's not a lot of information about VDT around, so this book will be a great learning tool.

One of his best friends was Baltimorean Billy Baldwin, and was great friends with Albert Hadley. When he met Bunny Williams early in her career, he told her that kitchens should only be white.
Interiors speak! Rooms emphasize whether one exists or lives, and there is a great difference between the two! ...Van Day Truex, Interiors


  1. I felt a little sad for him at the end. It seems that the author was discreet, but also that Van was very solitary. Clearly, he was genius.

  2. Loved this book, have three copies just in case something should happen to one. Imagine my surprise when I say my surname in one of the captions. Yes, we are related but the authors info is not completely correct.

  3. VDT is one of my design idols, and I was so happy that this book was published b/c you're right- there is scant information out there on him. If you ever find any 1970s issues of Arch. Digest you should look and see if one of his articles is in there!

  4. And he's right about kitchens only being white!

  5. I am a second cousin to Van. His Aunt Kee (wrote about in the book) was my Mother's aunt too, and benefactor. I shall always remember running about Aunt Kee's stone mansion in Shawnee Missions.

    I have what is most certainly Van's most personal painting. You won't find it hanging in any of the book's photos.

    I loved the book, and how it gave insights into the design world of his era.


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