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Boca Rococo: How Addison Mizner Invented Florida's Gold Coast

Caroline Seebohm

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ISBN 10: 0609605151 / ISBN 13: 9780609605158
Verlag: Crown Publications 2001, 2001
Gebraucht Hardcover
Verkäufer Robin Summers (Aldeburgh, Vereinigtes Königreich)

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New first edition, first impression hardback. Fine in fine dust jacket. Buchnummer des Verkäufers A111599

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Boca Rococo: How Addison Mizner Invented ...

Verlag: Crown Publications 2001

Erscheinungsdatum: 2001

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

Über diesen Titel


The rollicking tale of the artist, adventurer, and visionary whose innovative architecture transformed Palm Beach and whose dramatic rise and fall mirrors the larger-than-life excesses of the 1920s.

Addison Mizner’s Mediterranean-style mansions—with their stucco walls, tiled roofs, and Moorish accents—are much-admired Florida icons. In Boca Rococo, renowned author and biographer Caroline Seebohm introduces the flamboyant genius behind these pastel palaces.

Mizner was a leading San Francisco society figure in the 1890s, joined the Alaska Gold Rush, traveled to China, and made his way to an exploding turn-of-the-century New York. No formal training but huge natural talent established him as architect of the rich and famous. The getaways he designed made Palm Beach America’s most elegant resort—and fed his dream of developing a “Venice-on-the-Ocean” in nearby Boca Raton. Mizner’s plans ended with the collapse of Florida’s real estate boom. He died in 1933, broken and bankrupt.

Drawing on a huge cache of untapped materials—including measured plans and an unpublished autobiography—Seebohm restores Mizner to the pantheon of great architects and flamboyant Americans.


The title of this pleasingly told biography of Mizner--the hulking bon vivant who designed Spanish-style fantasia homes for the Jazz Age elite of South Florida--advances a general misconception about him: though his name is commonly associated with Boca Raton, he actually designed precious little for that town before his sprawlingly grandiose development scheme there caved in, leaving him broke for the short remainder of his life. Rather, the bulk of his work is in Palm Beach, where he designed countless romantic but shrewdly conceived Spanish Revival homes and estates for the old and new rich who flocked to this tropical "last frontier" in the 1920s. Seebohm accordingly focuses most on this output--from the early residence El Mirasol to the latter Playa Riente, not to mention Mizner's elegant Everglades Club and his own Via Mizner, which in a sense was America's first open-air shopping mall. (Photographs weren't available for review, but they will make up two 16-page inserts, unfortunately in black-and-white; Mizner was a master of intoxicating pastels.)

This isn't a rigid, theoretical sort of monograph, but, then again, Mizner wasn't a rigid, theoretical sort of architect--he had no formal training and (critics have noted) he did nothing to advance architectural idiom like the modernists. His genius was the way in which he parlayed a wildly divergent early career (that included travel in Alaska, China and Guatemala) into what became a vast enterprise in which he not only designed homes, interiors, and landscapes of distinct beauty and coherence, but oversaw and trained a virtual army of workers in the art of buying or reproducing Spanish stucco, tile work, pottery, furniture, and more. Adored in both high society and bohemian circles, his friends included everyone from grand dame Eva Stotesbury, for whom he designed El Mirasol, to composer Irving Berlin. He was also wildly flamboyant, uniquely resilient and adept at self-reinvention, and apparently blessed with a heart as big as his waistline. As such, Mizner lived a life as much about all-American pluck and luck in a heady, doomed decade as it was about architectural sensibility. Those two strands are deftly woven together here in a life story that approaches the same tone of genteel fondness that most of Mizner's rich lady friends routinely employed in recommending him to their ever-richer friends. --Timothy Murphy

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