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Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by poetman, Apr 29, 2017.
A half-empty ice-cooled bubbler is a must for any well-equipped office.
I had that very model desk in my first office, right after University, when I was developing products for a small manufacturer of industrial lubricants.
When I set up my telephone business in the wake of the Bell System break-up I located another example of the same Globe-Wernicke desk in mahogany, with the "C-Roll" top, rather like this one (but without the nasty light refinishing job):
Here's what we're after:
Hopper is certainly one of my top three favorites painters of the period--probably the number 1 in fact. I just learned of a commissioned, serialized novella based on this painting, which you can read here: http://www.walkerart.org/office-at-night-a-novella but I found the prose quite awful and simply a failed attempt to imitate Chandler, Hammett, et al.
For the Noir minded amongst you, George Cotkin's Existential America is great read as well.
I am a huge fan of Hopper as well. Also, enjoy Jack Vettriano, George Bellows and Dennis Wortman as an illustrator.
Who are your other two favorites?
I really like Vettriano--such a Noir artist-- and Bellows as well! Not sure that I can pin down two, but I would start with Delphin Enjolras then Peter Paul Rubens, Poussin, and Manet close behind. I tend to enjoy themes in art more than the complete oeuvre of any particular artist (Hopper and enjolras aside). I also love maritime art and Japanese watercolor art.
My father used to work for a large, old-fashioned laundry where he was a route man. I went with him a lot in the summer, so I got to see the office a lot. It definitely had a film-noir feel to it (after all, it was the early 1950s). The office was separated from the plant by a wall and the door had a frosted glass pane and the door rattled just so when it was closed. The floor was bare tile, all the furniture was wood, probably oak. Even with adding machines, and a curious machine that made stamps (for tagging laundry), the place had a very uncluttered look, but not bare. It was the second largest employer in town and most of the employees were women. The whole place was clean and everything not only worked but had that certain shine that things have when they are used a lot. All of the equipment seemed gigantic to me and even then, everything looked ancient even though it was probably no more than about 50 or 60 years old.
Even today, there are companies operating with ultra-modern equipment in climate controlled conditions in buildings that are over a hundred years old. Not very many, though.
The most difficult thing I'd say about recreating a period office as was seen in an old movie is the fact that the movies were in black and white. Real life is mostly in color.
I was fascinated by things in an office even then. I liked desk sets (never had one), desk lamps (never had one), oak swivel chairs (never had one) and even the green desk blotters they used (never used them). But I did work in a big plant with something like 200 employees, mostly women, with an office over in one corner with doors that rattled. There was a flood one day when the auditors were supposed to show up and to this day, I have no idea how the owner managed to do that.
A darkly funny take on Vettriano --