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I. Foreword
II. Introduction
III. Settings & Styles
IV. Facades & Elevations
V. Art & Design


VI. Palm Beach
VII. Resources
The Society of the Four Arts [SOFA]
Boca Raton Historical Society [BRHS]
Mizner Library Foundation [MLF]
Historical Society of Palm Beach County [HSPBC]

Sketch. Bullfight. [BRHS]


More than 80 years after Amy Phipps Guest donated the Addison Mizner Scrapbooks​ ​to The Society of the Four Arts, containing many of the sketches in this​​ ​​online exhibition, the collection’s value continues to be appreciated by residents and scholars. Mizner’s freehand drawings are of special note, a window into aesthetic impulses broadened over the span of decades and creative processes steeped in bygone architectural tableaus.

Better than finished masterpieces, an architect’s initial impressions connect the artistic mind directly with the hand that created the art. Mizner’s sketches record the creative development of what has become South Florida’s iconic architectural skyline. When Mizner designed Playa Riente, the Everglades Club, and Via Mizner, his blueprints were clearly his own creations rather than pattern-book styles, importing Old-World elegance from centuries past and transforming it into Palm Beach’s signature style.

As detailed in many of the drawings, Mizner grasped the scale and proportions of every aspect of building and decoration from structural columns to chandelier shades, as documented by the finished products in the Mizner Industries catalogs. His meticulous specifications prove he could have easily made literal copies of European architectural forms. Instead, he chose to go his own way.

Today’s Palm Beach remains pleasantly influenced and inspired by Addison Mizner’s distinctive resort architecture, a mix of fantasy and creative genius. His work was complex, never simple, and straightforward. He wanted his creations to be timeless, subtly amassing different ages and styles that appear to have many stories to tell.

How better to reflect on Palm Beach’s history and embrace the town’s multifaceted character?

Michel Witmer
Chairman, Fine Arts Committee
The Society of the Four Arts – Palm Beach

Pen and ink sketch. Mizner Industries. [HSPBC]


Addison Mizner, known primarily for his early 20th-century adaptation of Spanish and Italian Renaissance styles for Palm Beach mansions and buildings, as well as the furnishings and artifacts that filled them, was also a considerable sketch artist, reflected in his travel drawings and preliminary sketches for clients before architectural plans or models were conceived.

Pen and ink sketch. “Effloresco” – to bloom, blossom forth, flourish. [SOFA]

In 2009 for the Palm Beach Social Diary, I wrote Envisioning Palm Beach: The Addison Mizner Collection at The Society of the Four Arts, a wide-ranging survey focused on the architect’s scrapbooks, their scope and substance arranged thematically by geography, historical period, and subject matter. Each volume is comprised of tear sheets removed from architectural journals and magazines, postcards, small-format personal travel photographs, large-format professional photographs, and, embedded among them, pencil and ink sketches and drawings. Thus, every page makes for a multi-dimensional historical collage that adds immeasurably to our knowledge of Mizner’s inspirations as well as insight into the range of his graphic imagination and his development as a draftsman and manufacturer.

For this online exhibition and to better appreciate Mizner’s vision, the sketches and drawings from The Four Arts’ scrapbooks were scanned and photographed within the scrapbook as well as shown apart from them, as they might have first appeared in a sketch pad or on stationery. The Reynolds Clark Collection and The Historical Society of Palm Beach County drawings were scanned and resized for online viewing. Some of the drawings are in fragile distressed condition, others remain unidentified as to the client, project, or to their location.

These quick-draw pencil sketches, first-draft perspectives, and studied pen and ink drawings, however fragmented, display Mizner’s command of architecture’s building blocks — line, shape, form, composition, and structure. His handwritten directions and specifications to his draftsmen and craftsmen attest to his meticulous sense of precision. Whether his earliest depiction of the Alhambra on June 19, 1905, his initial impulses for Alva Belmont’s Sands Point tea house in 1915, or more detailed elevation plans for Playa Riente in 1923 and 1928, Mizner’s legacy is as influential for its architectural innovations as his standing among the 20th-century’s most inventive artisans and craftsmen.

With several of the architect’s mansions demolished, others historic in name only, Addison Mizner’s sketches and drawings remain, however worn and frayed, recalling an era when building design was truly an art.

Augustus Mayhew

Pen and ink sketch [BRHS] & Addison Mizner bookplate [SOFA]

The Society of the Four Arts – Boca Raton Historical Society

Photograph, Antigua. Edward P. Fox, photographer. Central America, two-volume set, 1905. Addison Mizner Collection. [SOFA]
Sketch. Near Antigua. Courtyard of San Juan Obispo. August 10, 1904. “An elliptical arch, thick. Built on the side of Volcano de Agua.” [SOFA]
Watercolor sketch. “Volcano de Agua.” Antigua. 1904. [SOFA]
Pen and ink drawing. Antigua. Fountain of Plaza Iglesia de La Merced, September 1904. [SOFA]
Pen and ink sketch. The Alhambra, June 19, 1905. Signed “Addison Mizner.” During the Summer of 1905, Mizner traveled to Europe with Tessie Fair Oelrichs. Tessie’s sister was the first Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt II. “Detail of corner. Ceiling detail of the small mosque where he (Muhammed III) was murdered …” [SOFA]

L. to r.: Sketch. Spanish doorway. [SOFA]; Sketch. Elaborate doorway and frontispiece with finial. [SOFA]

Sketch. Burgos. [SOFA]
Sketch. Moorish fountain & courtyard. [BRHS]
Pen and ink sketches. Havana, February 8, 1924. [SOFA]
Sketch. Two-story Spanish hacienda view from courtyard. [SOFA]
Pen and ink sketches. Toledo, Spain. “May 19th. Cornice of the Hospital of Santa Cruz.” Hotel Castilla stationery. [SOFA]
L. to r.: Pen and ink sketch. “Washington, 1905.” [SOFA]; Sketch. Pair of columns. “AM” initialed. [SOFA}
Sketch with graphic scrapbook images. “Beadleston.” March 18, 1908. [SOFA]

Sketch. The Berkeley Hotel, Piccadilly,W1. London, stationery. [BRHS]

Pen and ink sketches. Biarritz. Carlton Hotel stationery. [BRHS]

Boca Raton Historical Society – The Society of the Four Arts

Sketch. Elevation plan with grade levels. Sands Point Tea House, 1915. Alva (Mrs. Oliver Hazard Perry) Belmont. [BRHS]
Sketch. Two-story residential elevation proposal. [BRHS]
Sketch. Dimensional elevation plan and siting. [BRHS]
Sketch. Façade plan. Signed for “Murphy.” [BRHS]
Sketch. Spanish-style split-level residential façade with roof plan sketch (lower center) and site plan. [BRHS]
Sketch, tapestry placement. [BRHS]

Sketch. Multi-dimensional four-part sectional elevations and plans with central courtyard for possible initial proposal. “Onboard SS Celtic,” White Star Line (flag upper right) stationery. Handwritten notes: Center left, dining room; Center courtyard, mosquito screen, dining room door, door out for service, stairs to loggia, stairs to bedrooms; Courtyard lower right, opening, to pantry; Center right wing, pantry; Lower center wing, solid fly screen. [BRHS]

Preliminary sketch. Multi-dimensional four-part sectional elevations and plans with central courtyard for possible initial proposal. Handwritten Notes (Clockwise): North, Winding stairs to see the sunset ( “… before 6 pm”), Higher than other roof, Opaque windows to loggia; East, Kitchen, Hall, Laundry; South, Vestibule, Window notation (upside down), Sun Bath; West, Living Room wall, Grape vine poles; Center courtyard, Garden door, Fountain, Bench, Steps 4 ½ feet down, 12 ft. deep. [BRHS]

Watercolor drawing. Waterfront mansion with Venetian landing and staircase. [BRHS]
Sketch. Two-story columned façade drawing with Gothic tracery. [BRHS]
Sketch. An elevation plan detailing a second-story triple-arched window surround. [BRHS]
Sketch. A multi-level gabled cottage façade detailed with Elizabethan Tudor Revival-styled windows, cross beams, and braces. [SOFA]

Sketch. Multi-dimensional elevation drawing. Handwritten notes: “Tropical House. The center is the disappearing point for the sides. Narrow pool; courtyard twice as wide. Wider, blank arches, open through, moulding, same line.” [BRHS]

V. Art & Design
The Society of the Four Arts – Boca Raton Historical Society

Watercolor sketches. Design patterns, detailed. [SOFA]
Watercolor drawing. Drapery. 1912. Alfred E. Dieterich. Millbrook, New York. [SOFA]
Watercolor drawings. Drapery. [SOFA]
Watercolor sketch. Ceiling mural, detail. [SOFA]
Sketch. “P. G. Grant’s, 1908. From Wanamaker.” Mrs. Percy G. Grant was best known as author and satirist Ethel Watts Mumford, Port Washington, New York. Mizner’s friend and co-author of his Cynic’s Calendar series. Mrs. Grant’s father served as a president of New York’s Cotton Exchange. [SOFA]
Colored pen and ink sketches. [SOFA]

Sketches. Ceiling patterns. [SOFA]

Pen and ink sketches. Interior, design patterns. 1905. “Plaster section. House of Stanford White, Drawing room.” [SOFA]

Sketch. “Red. Faces in color. Background of plaques – blue.” [SOFA]
Pencil & colored-pencil sketches with specifications. Fireplace and fireplace screen. [SOFA]
Sketches. “Addison Mizner, living room mantle. 20-foot ceiling. Right, Toledo, Spain, frame.” [SOFA]
Sketch. Fireplace and two-story surrounds. [BRHS]
Sketch. Fireplace mantle. [SOFA]
Sketch. Fireplace mantle. Lower right. Garden City Hotel, New York. May 21, 1910 (designed by Stanford White). [SOFA]
Sketch. “Farmholme, September 30, 1907.” Stonington, Ct. [SOFA]
Sketch with exact specifications. Upper left. “Old Italian Mantle presented to The Lambs Club by Stanford White.” [SOFA]
Sketch. Fireplace with large surround. [BRHS]
Sketch. Fireplace mantles with chair. “William the Conqueror.” [SOFA]
Sketch. Fireplace mantle. “Mr. Solomon’s house, 83rd & 5th, New York. 1908. Right side, entrance column notes: “11’4’ height at opening. 3 1/8th inch for column.” Bottom right, Residence, Payne Whitney. Note: “Cornice 34 inches.” [SOFA]
Sketches with specifications. “Two old French Limoges fireplace mantles. Very wide.” [SOFA]
Pen and ink sketches. Mizner Industries. Window grille, wrought-iron chandelier, chandelier, wrought-iron sconce, and chair. [HSPBC]

Pen and ink sketches. Bedroom headboard and frame, wright-iron accessory, and three-bulb wrought-iron sconce. Mizner Industries. [HSPBC]
Sketch. “Cast bronze. Dark amber glass to height of rail. Cornice, frieze, architrave. Eagles. Stars. On the one side facing boxes-as shown by … Leave clear glass – all bulbs to be below top of balcony rail.” [BRHS]
Sketch. “Valladolid. Door fittings with specifications.” [SOFA]
L. to r.: Sketch. Chandelier. “Three switches – one for bowl, one for upper, one for lower. 120-watt lamps. Five bunches of light.”; Sketch. Lantern; Sketch. Andiron. “New York, January 1908.” [SOFA]
Pen and ink sketches. “Loeffler, 79 Orange Street.” [SOFA]
Sketches. Iron works & Fixtures. [HSPBC]

Sketch. Wrought-iron sconce. [HSPBC]

Pen and ink sketches. Wall fixtures and plates. [SOFA]
Pen and ink sketches. Ironworks & light fixtures. [HSPBC]
Sketch. Miami skyline. March 31, 1918. Following the purchase of the property where the Everglades Club would be built, Paris Singer and Addison Mizner went to Miami and spent four days in late March 1918 visiting James Deering at Vizcaya. [BRHS]
Sketch. Two-level floor lamp (center) drawing embedded onto scrapbook. Everglades Rod & Gun Club, stationery. 1918. During the several months before World War I ended when the clubhouse building was still intended for recovering shellshocked soldiers, the name Everglades Rod & Gun Club reflected Paris Singer’s belief that a sporting facility would be part of their rehabilitation. The club’s New York office was on Park Avenue above the Anderson Galleries. When the war ended and Singer converted it into a private social club, the name was shortened to the Everglades Club. [SOFA]

Palm Beach – Resources

Photograph. Eleanor (Mrs. Joshua) Neves Cosden and her architect Addison Mizner in Venice. Summer 1923. With construction underway on the Cosden villa that would become known as Mizner’s largest Palm Beach mansion, the architect and his client spent several months in Spain and Italy acquiring furnishings and fixtures. Several years later, following her divorce from Cosden, Eleanor became a well-known interior designer. [SOFA]

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