Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994

Sunday, April 29, 2018, 1pm-5pm

May 11 through November 25, 2018
Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm
Sundays at 1pm and 3pm

Thursday, October 18, 2018 | 12:30pm—3:00pm
Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 12:30pm—3:00pm
Saturday, October 27, 2018 | 12:30pm—3:00pm

Free admission during the opening, regular fees apply for tours
Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994 is sponsored, in part, by the Clannad Foundation.

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is pleased to announce the exhibition Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946 – 1994. The fourth in a series of interventions at Cranbrook’s historic Saarinen House, Presidents/Residents examines the artistic work and legacies of the four presidents of Cranbrook Academy of Art that followed Eliel Saarinen: Zoltan Sepeshy, Glen Paulsen, Wallace Mitchell, and Roy Slade. While Saarinen House served as the official home of these presidents from just 1951 to 1990, the exhibition traces their tenures as presidents from 1946 until 1994—a period of seismic social and artistic changes that were reflected in the work and culture of the Academy and reverberated in the rooms of Saarinen House. Through paintings and drawings on loan from Cranbrook Art Museum, as well historic photographs and ephemera from Cranbrook Archives, this exhibition surveys both the Academy leadership and its student life during the second half of the 20th century.

The exhibition features archival material and works by each former resident: painter Zoltan Sepeshy, who directed the Academy from 1946 to 1966 and moved into the house in late 1951 following the death of Eliel Saarinen in 1950; architect Glen Paulsen, who led the Academy from 1966 to 1970 and expanded Cranbrook’s campus with late-Modern additions; Wallace Mitchell, a Detroit native whose career at Cranbrook developed from student to painting instructor, then director of the Art Museum and finally president; and painter and educator Roy Slade, who led the Academy and its Museum from 1977 to 1994. Slade initiated the restoration of Saarinen House in the late 1970s and supported the transformation of this early modern, Art Deco design treasure into a public house museum in 1994.

Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946-1994 was organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Kevin Adkisson, the Center’s 2016-2019 Collections Fellow. The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, in partnership with Cranbrook Art Museum, is responsible for stewarding the collections of Saarinen House and opening its doors to visitors from around the world.

Presidents/Residents may be viewed on both public and private tours of Saarinen House during the 2018 Tour Season, May 11 through November 25.

Saarinen House: Presidents/Residents, 1946 – 1994 continues a series of interventions in the historic Saarinen House, all organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.  These exhibitions are designed to rethink the purpose of historic house museums and enhance the experience of visitors within Saarinen House.  In 2013, the first exhibition, Anders Ruhwald at Saarinen House: The Anatomy of a Home, explored the complex relationships within the Saarinen family through site-specific work.  In the spring of 2017, Saarinen Home: Living and Working with Cranbrook’s First Family of Design filled the house with art objects, drawings, and archival materials to further explore how the Saarinens actually used and created within the house across their twenty-year residence.  For the third intervention, Jason Carter at Saarinen House: #digital_presence (Fall 2017), artist and Academy of Art graduate Jason Carter presented eight new paintings that explored the Art Deco masterwork through the lens of contemporary technology, specifically the interaction between the historic domestic environment and the glowing light of contemporary digital devices.

ArtMembers (join now)                               Free
Adults                                                            $15
Seniors (65 and older)                                $13
Students with ID                                          $11

Saarinen House tours include admission to the Cranbrook Art Museum. Additional information on Saarinen House, including the Center's tours, is available under the VISIT section of the website. Tickets may be purchased through the Center's EVENTS CALENDAR.

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research offers a limited number of private tours of Saarinen House, mid-April through November, with at least three weeks of advance notice.

Adults and Seniors                                     $20
Full-time Students with ID                        $15
Minimum Private Tour Group Fee              $100

The Center’s staff will be glad to include a visit of Saarinen House, and the Presidents/Residents exhibition, as part of a longer custom-designed campus tour. To inquire about private tours, please call the Center at 248.645.3307.

Roy Slade, Vortex (detail), 1982-1983, oil on canvas (41-1/16 x 41-5/16 inches). Collection of Cranbrook Art Museum, Gift of Don and Lilian Bauder (CAM 1996.2). Photography by Kevin Adkisson; Courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Zoltan Sepeshy (far right) discussing artwork with painting students at Cranbrook Academy of Art, May 1942. Collection of Cranbrook Archives.

Zoltan Sepeshy, October 1943. Harvey Croze, Photographer; Collection of Cranbrook Archives.

Glen Paulsen, circa 1966-1970. Richard Carlisle Jackson, Photographer; Collection of Cranbrook Archives.

Wallace Mitchell, September 1956. Harvey Croze, Photographer; Collection of Cranbrook Archives.

Roy Slade, 1978. Photography courtesy of Roy Slade.