After nearly a century, the Los Angeles Central Library still reflects architect Bertram G. Goodhue's vision that buildings should be “literate,” using symbolic expressions to make them distinctive and eternal.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a bookmaking revival in the greater Boston/New York area, and Bertram Goodhue was thoroughly involved, influential, and supportive.
Architect Bertram G. Goodhue (1869-1924) was a gifted and multi-faceted artist. He began drawing as a young child, first with pen and pencil and later with watercolors.
For 50 years, nationally recognized architect Norman Pfeiffer has applied creativity, innovation, and technical proficiency to an impressive portfolio of outstanding renovations and additions to library and arts buildings throughout the country.
The shortest answer to the question of importance is that without the funds which the city received for the sale of the air rights above the Central Library site, we might not have the Goodhue Building today. Instead of being renovated, it easily might have been demolished.
I love taking tours through the old children’s room in the Central Library because it’s the only place in the building where one can stand close enough to the ceiling to see how artist Julian Garnsey’s painting skill created the illusion of wooden beams. The secret behind the illusion?
In Part 1 of our post we looked at sculpture on the library’s exterior as it reflects an overall theme, The Light of Learning.
Since I began leading docent tours eight years ago at the Los Angeles Central Library, some tour goers ask—is hidden Masonic symbolism contained in the art that decorates the library?