Sarah Coffin is an independent decorative arts and design consultant, curator, and lecturer, who is a member of Olana’s National Advisory Committee, Most recently for over 14 years, she was Senior Curator and Head of the Product Design and Decorative Arts Department at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum from which she retired in 2018. While there she curated blockbuster exhibitions on the Jazz Age, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, Rococo design from 1730-2008 and Feeding Desire on Dining Design from 1500-2005. In addition she oversaw the creation of the Permanent Collections floor with five exhibitions opening simultaneously for the renovated museum re-opening in 2014. One of the exhibitions she co-curated then was Passion for the Exotic: Lockwood de Forest and Frederic Church, featuring the museum’s de Forest-designed Teak Room and works, primarily from the collection with loans from Olana.
Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), a painter and interior designer started his artistic career painting with Frederic Church at Olana. Related by marriage to Church, de Forest stayed at Olana during the 1870s, where he studied books in Church’s library on middle eastern design by Pascal Coste and Jules Bourgoin. In 1869 de Forest and Church travelled, painted and shopped in Greece and the Middle East with their families. The purchases appear in both Olana and Lockwood de Forest’s first interior design commission − his parents’ New York house of 1876. De Forest’s main contribution to Olana came after he set up an studio of mastercraftmen in the Indian city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat in 1880-81 for the production of woodwork, metalwork, and other decorative designs. This talk will go inside Olana on a virtual tour of elements and furniture provided by de Forest, mostly from his Indian studio, supplemented by images of
other work by de Forest and related Indian sources, with special reference to how he and Church collaborated at Olana.
A self-guided outdoor exploration of rarely seen private properties, all with spectacular views and within five miles of Olana. Feast on a picnic lunch by top regional chefs, and experience the sublime views that inspired Frederic Church.
The Olana Partnership programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.