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Celebrated Westchester Architect Honored For Pathbreaking Works In Katonah

The museum during construction.
The museum during construction. Photo Credit: Katonah Museum of Art
Edward Larrabee Barnes was a well known architect and Westchester resident.
Edward Larrabee Barnes was a well known architect and Westchester resident. Photo Credit: Katonah Museum of Art

KATONAH, N.Y. -- The Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) will celebrate the silver anniversary of its landmark building by the late architect (and Westchester resident) Edward Larrabee Barnes with an exhibition that spans his work.

"A Home for Art: Edward Larrabee Barnes and the KMA" features an overview of Barnes’ career and seminal role in modern architecture, including a close look at the many Westchester homes he designed. The show will run from March 22 to June 28, 2015.

Like the museum itself, the architect’s homes are known for their light and openness as well as their visually striking sharp lines, white walls, flat roofs, and abundant glass. Barnes, who was 89, passed away in September 2004.

The first house he built in Westchester was the Reid House from 1950, and the second was his own in 1952. It was originally designed as a platform house, similar to Philip Johnson’s famed Glass House. Four others followed in Chappaqua (1957), Pound Ridge (1958), Tarrytown (1967), and Bedford Hills (1975).

Photographs of these elegant expressions of Barnes’ vision make up a generous part of the exhibition.

Though Barnes was internationally renowned for ambitious modernist museum structures — he designed the Dallas Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others — the Katonah project was unique in design—an intimate, light-filled space meant to honor the area's natural beauty.

And, it was personal.

Barnes raised his family in nearby Mount Kisco, and designed the homes of many of his closest friends and neighbors. His wife, Mary Barnes, also an architect, had a longstanding involvement with the Katonah Gallery—soon to become the Katonah Museum of Art—as a trustee and member of its exhibition advisory board.

Archival material from the Katonah Historical Society as well as photographs, drawings, and blueprints from the Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Edward Larrabee Barnes holdings provide additional depth to the presentation.

A related exhibit will be on view featuring  the story of the relocation of Katonah in the late 19th century with the history of the Barnes-designed KMA. The exhibition is titled "Chris Larson: The Katonah Relocation Project," and will begin March 22, 2015.

The KMA is located at 134 Jay St.; (914) 232-9555, www.katonahmuseum.org/ . Admission is $10 adults, $5 seniors and students; free for members and children under 12.

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