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Robert Winthrop Chanler


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Rediscovery of Robert Winthrop Chanler, an early twentieth century American painter whose fantastic imagination and patrician clientele provide a fascinating artistic and biographical saga.

About the Author

Gina Wouters is curator at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Responsible for the research and display of a multifaceted collection, Wouters's focus centers on the twentieth century, including the commissioning of contemporary artists in a Gilded Age context. Prior to joining Vizcaya, she worked at The Wolfsonian-FIU, She received her B.F.A in Photography from Barry University in Miami, Florida and obtained her master's degree in Dutch Art in European Context from the University of Amsterdam. Andrea Gollin is an art historian and an independent editor working with Vizcaya, the Wolfsonian, and other institutions.


"It could be he's unknown to us because his murals and installations are hard to exhibit. They exist mainly in media-averse private buildings and out-of-the-way estates. Probably, too, because Gilded Age art isn't vogueish anymore. Such a perfect moment for this book, then, the first in 80 years to dust off the luxuriant work of this maverick, this all-but-forgotten rock star."
-World of Interiors

"The focus of Robert Winthrop Chanler: Discovering the Fantastic is the subject's gobsmackingly marvelous works of art. Folding screens, murals, stained-glass windows, portraits, and architectural details-namely a towering bronze-and-plaster chimneypiece for arts patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney that was designed to resemble a furious fire blazing from baseboard to ceiling-were among Chanler's many creations, which often incorporated bizarrely magical, strangely malevolent evocations of the natural world."
-Architectural Digest

"I first learned about the artist Robert Winthrop Chanler during my research writing The World of Gloria Vanderbilt. The artist and Gloria's aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney were great friends, and he designed the fantastical flame-licked fireplace in her Greenwich Village studio. Chanler was a bohemian aristocrat, related to Astors and Stuyvesants, but lived by his own rules, hardly a model of convention. This is the first major book (out in May) on his life and art in many years, and I look forward to hours poring over every page."
-New York Magazine's "Design Hunting"

"Born in 1872, died in 1930, Robert Chanler was a brilliant artist. He worked in a variety of media-paint, lacquer, plaster-and a variety of formats-folding screens, murals, canvas. In New York and Europe, he ran with a swell crowd of influential artists and bohemians. The iconic Greenwich Village house of his friend, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, features a spectacular Chanler fireplace. In a new book edited by Gina Wouters and Andrea Gollin, Robert Winthrop Chanler: Discovering the Fantastic, Chanler's life and work are detailed in a series of excellent essays by art historians, museum curators and family members."
-Rural Intelligence

"Chanler influenced modernism with his fluidity between hiand low, representation and imagination, and screens and sculptures. Robert Winthrop Chanler: Dicsovering the Fantastic is a welcom contribution to conversations we have about making art today-and what it means to call yourself avant-garde in 2016 given the modernism that came before us."
-Miami Rail

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