George Mann Niedecken
Living room

Project for the living room of Mr Irving in Decatur, Illinois
George Mann Niedecken (1878-1945)
Project for the living room of Mr Irving in Decatur, Illinois
Between 1900 and 1910
Pen and black ink, watercolour on canvas
H. 71; W. 66 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot

Projet de salle de séjour de la maison de M. Irving à Decatur, Illinois


A collector of oriental objets d'art, and particularly of Japanese prints, this beautiful drawing illustrates the interior designer and architect George Mann Niedecken's taste for Japanese style. Presented in the style of a scroll painting, painted on canvas, this project favours horizontal lines, accentuated by the large fireplace, made from brick, left bare, without plaster.

Niedecken devoted a lot of his time to murals. In these he recreates the luxuriant wild flowers of the Midwest prairies in a stylised form, flattened and decorative without too much detail. The architect often used photographs of the flowers and plants he wished to reproduce, from which he would elaborate a series of studies, gradually simplifying his work until arriving to a painted decoration.
These images were a determining element as they established the link between the outdoor landscape and the most abstract drawings for the rest of the decoration. Niedecken required high standards for the profession of interior architect, insisting that he had to be an artist capable of painting and drawing, with, of course, experience in the field of architecture and sculpture, as well as in all the other arts including carpet weaving and dyeing, and the decorative use of stucco and plaster.

This project for a living room was realised when the Irving house was built in1909-1910 by Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom Niedecken had already worked.


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