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Book Release: The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft

December 12, 2019 - January 31, 2020

This past fall saw the launch of The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft, a lushly photographed, coffee table-sized book about the interplay of nature, art and architecture designed and photographed by Tom Grotta, co-curator of browngrotta arts.

In the late 80s, Lou and Sandra Grotta commissioned architect Richard Meier to create a home in New Jersey that would showcase their collection of contemporary studio jewelry and significant works in wood, ceramic and fiber. The Grotta Home features their art within its architectural frame, with nature as an ever-present backdrop. The book provides an intimate view of how the Grottas experience the work day to day. The collection and its natural setting inform every aspect of their lives. The Grotta Home will inspire others who wish to do the same.

Artist’s work is not confined to the walls in the Grotta home. Rather, jewelry is displayed on the walls, table settings feature artisan- made plates, silverware and dishware, and artwork is moved regularly to create a new experience –“ just another means of engaging in constant conversation,” writes Glenn Adamson, curator and author from the Yale Center for British Art.  The Grotta home, is a “vessel for living,” in Adamson’s view, where one encounters vases, bowls, baskets, chairs, textiles and teapots, but also powerful sculptural forms, rich with an array of nature-derived or nature-inspired textures, colors and shapes.

Furniture by designers such as Edgar and Joyce Anderson feature equally alongside Scandinavian design classics by Kay Bojesen or textile works by Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen or Jack Lenor Larsen.

Ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu, Wayne Higby and Bodil Manz, along with the creations of significant jewelry artists such as Wendy Ramshaw, Otto Künzli or Tone Vigeland, complete the picture of this extraordinary collection.

The works are carefully framed within Richard Meier’s open architecture, an equal blend of glass and solid surface. Nature, visible from many vantage points, plays an essential supporting role. The art that the Grottas had acquired influenced Meier’s design and his architecture, in turn, has influenced the way in which the collection has continued to evolve. With its numerous, sometimes surprising insights and vistas, the architecture produces a fluent link between interior and exterior space.

Artists and essayists including Sheila Hicks, Jack Lenor Larsen and John McQueen and Joseph Giovannini provide additional insights in the accompanying essays. The texts and personal statements by artists make it clear that the Grottas not only collect art and design but also experience them as an integral part of their living environment.

The Grotta Home offers something to architecture fans, decorative art enthusiasts and collectors who are as interested in immersing themselves in art as in acquiring it.

The Collectors
Lou Grotta’s interest in modern architecture and Scandinavian art stems back to his early years as a student at the University of Michigan where he met Sandy in 1953.  A celebrated interior designer, Sandy completely renovated the Grotta’s first home by replacing family antiques with a new assortment of contemporary art pieces and furniture.

In the early 80s, Lou reunited with his childhood companion Richard Meier, and despite their differences in opinion concerning craft materials, they decided to collaborate on the creation of The Grotta House. Over a span of five years, the three worked together to design and build a house that incorporated the Grotta’s unique appreciation for contemporary art and Meier’s formal elements of design. During the construction of the Grotta home and since the Grottas have continued to acquire new works to enhance their collection. The two nearly always agree on aesthetic decisions. “Since day one, we’ve been blessed worth an amazing like/dislike simpatico,” according to Lou. “On the rare occasions we disagree, we honor the other’s veto power.

The Artists
The book includes more than 200 artists, jewelers, and designers.  “In quality and depth, the Grotta collection of contemporary craft outshines all others, including what is in museums,” according to artist, curator and author, Jack Lenor Larsen. The large scale of the book – 12 x 11 inches  – permits the artworks to be displayed in full-page layouts, creating an immersive experience for readers. The essays by and about artists – basketmaker, John McQueen, ceramist, Toshiko Takaezu, fiber sculptor, Sheila Hicks, woodworkers, Edgar and Joyce Anderson, and jewelers, Wendy and David Watkins offer further insights.

The Photographer and Designer
A principal of browngrotta arts for 30 years, Tom Grotta graduated from RIT with a fine arts degree in photography. He is recognized for his extensive knowledge of contemporary art textiles and fiber sculpture and for his exceptional photography of fiber art. Grotta’s art photographs are included in several private collections and that of the Museum of Modern Art in Serralves, Portugal. His photographs have been included in museum installations throughout the US including Ethel Stein: Masterweaver at the Chicago Art Institute, In the Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi at the Mingei International Museum, California and Works by Toshiko Takaezu at the Hunterdon Museum, New Jersey. His photos of artists and their works have been published internationally in books including, Toshiko Takaezu: Earth and Bloom, California’s Designing Women 1896-1986, Fiber Sculpture, 1960 – Present, Tapestry: A Woven Narrative, Makers: A History of American Studio Craft and numerous magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, Elle Decor, Interior Design, Architectural Digest and Hand/Eye.

The Architect
The American architect Richard Meier (b. 1934) achieved worldwide fame with his strictly geometric designs and the dominant use of the color white. The Museum of Applied Art in Frankfurt Germany (1985), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain (1995) and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, US (1997) are among the best-known buildings of the Pritzker Prize winner. “The design delivers the environment to the Grottas not just as a view but as an experience,” writes architecture critic Joseph Giovannini. “…[I]t enriches their lives in ways that conventional houses don’t.”

A Marriage of Architecture and Craft
Tom Grotta, photography and design
With contributions by Glenn Adamson, Matthew Drutt, Sheila Hicks, Joseph Giovannini, Louis Grotta, Jack Lenor Larsen, John McQueen, Richard Meier, Wendy Ramshaw, David Watkins and with photographs by Tom Grotta

336 pages
28 x 30 cm, 232 ills, Hardcover English
US $ 85
ISBN 978-3-89790-568-9

For more information or free review copies, please do not hesitate to contact: Winfried Stürzl, arnoldsche ART PUBLISHERS
Olgastraße 137, D-70180 Stuttgart Tel. +49 (0)711 64 56 18-14 | Fax 79



December 12, 2019
January 31, 2020


Edgar and Joyce Anderson, Kay Bojesen, Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, Françoise Grossen, Jack Lenor Larsen, Toshiko Takaezu, Wayne Higby, Bodil Manz, Wendy Ramshaw, Otto Künzli, Tone Vigeland
Artwork Medium
Mixed Media