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Foyer Ceiling at Ca’ d’Zan

December 21, 2012 5 Comments by Regina

I have quite a few decorative painting pics to show you from some of my mini-vacations! This one is from a quick jaunt to Sarasota, FL, where a visit to the Ringling Museum was a must on the list.  We’ve previously seen their gardens and a bit of the Ringling family home, Ca’ d’Zan (Part 1 and Part 2).  This is actually a very special ceiling in the Ca’ d’Zan foyer.

To give you an idea of its space in the home, here is an image from the living room (an interior court). The foyer itself has glazed walls and Moroccan-inspired arched windows.

Here are a few close-ups.  According to archive records, the “ceiling beams enclose areas of canvas painted with conventionalized foliated motifs in red and gray. That decoration…[was] created by Robert Webb“. Mr. Webb was an artist who studied under John Singer Sargent and he mastered gold leafing and mural work while assisting him.  After a few years and solo projects on his own, he moved his family to Florida. It is said that while Mr. Webb was working on the grape leaf design on the foyer ceiling, his client John Ringling said, “Webb, hurry up! I’m running out of time and money!” to which Mr. Webb immediately put down his brush and said “I’m finished!”. The panel to this day remains uncompleted.  Here’s a few close-ups.

Grape tree close-up (above) and within the panel (below)

Do click here to see a visual tour — walk straight ahead and you’ll run right into the foyer. It is interesting to note that the artist, Robert Webb, had a daughter named Thelma who wrote his biography and filled it with his life story, experiences and anecdotes about his peers and projects. She called it Tramp Artist. I’ll be needing to purchase that.

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  1. Lisa McMillen
    730 days ago

    That’s all trompe l’oeil? I thought it was dimensional in the first photo!
    I’m thinking I want a copy of that book, too!

  2. Regina
    730 days ago

    I know – it’s incredible. It sounds like she put together quite the loving homage to her father, too. :)

  3. Theresa Cheek
    728 days ago

    Regina, this is incredible! The illusion is so good, I also thought it was composite ornament!

  4. sara
    706 days ago

    wow, this really looks awesome!! great work! :)

  5. Olivia
    683 days ago

    That’s fascinating! Love the textured illusion! It looks like its popping out of the ceiling!

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