Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Save the Mount

If you are a fan of Edith Wharton's, as am I, then you will be dismayed to learn that the recently restored Mount is facing imminent foreclosure in April. It is estimated that 3 million USD is needed and through contributions of generous patrons over 500,000 has been collected thus far. Time is short so if you are interested in helping to retain one of our national treasures please see here as you still have time to help. Deadline for pledges is April 24.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as "Old New York". to the wealthy New York family often associated with the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses". This was a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.

Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America's greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded:
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
An honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University
Full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Edith Wharton designed and built her "first real home," The Mount, in 1902.
The Mount was Wharton's design laboratory where she implemented the principles articulated in her first major book, The Decoration of Houses (1897).

Wharton believed that the design of a house should be treated architecturally and should honor the principles of proportion, harmony, simplicity, and suitability.

She viewed proportion as the "good breeding of architecture" and symmetry as the "sanity of decoration." She saw house decoration as "a branch of architecture" and the decorator's role as "not to explain illusions, but to produce them."

She thought gardens, too, should be architectural compositions.

She wrote in Italian Villas and Their Gardens that gardens should be divided into rooms and planned in concert with the house and the natural landscape.

Above borrowed from

Famous Edith Wharton quotes:

After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others.

Beware of monotony; it's the mother of all the deadly sins.

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time.

The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.


Suzanne said...

Who owns it? I don't understand why foreclosure is dangerous for the property. It simply means that those holding the mortgage will retain the property. Are developers trying to move in?

Vie Chaotique said...

I think the concern is that it will revert to a private property and no longer be available for public to tour. I can only assume that a developer may wish to benefit from that but I really don't know. My intention was to promote to those interested that the foundation is very concerned.