When I first entered the lobby of Arthur and Barbara's building on Riverside Drive with its aura of a past defined by an aesthetic no longer visible in 21st century buildings, it became the first piece in the collected fragments of this current project - although unrealized at the time. The high leaded glass windows give a soft illumination to the white marble, oddly religious - so unlike the apartment in which they live. Rather than spare it is generously filled, filled with the stuff of their combined interest in life and the pleasure of friends. It is the accumulated and collected work of artist friends and associates, each object a reminder of a meaningful encounter. It is possible to construct their life through the objects and images they have so casually assembled. The furnishings anchor the space, the large clock from Arthur's family, the desk, used more as a place to put objects than a functioning desk. Barbara's studio takes over the dining room with an array of color and playful objects, so much a representation of her lively and expressive personality. Arthur's writing room, hardly a room at all, more a closet, keeps his focus on the writing at hand, no wandering to outside thoughts - he continues to write daily form this small cocoon of a space.
It's fun to sit in the late afternoon, having a drink with Arthur and looking through the windows at the trees on Riverside Park...
I love the fact that we are living in a TREE HOUSE, Just high enough above the street. It's just beautiful! I love the fact that we have books all around us and can pick them up at any time. I love the indoor garden we have, the cactus, a huge cactus, which I call "my Leger". We have a very good time here everyday! We have the airplanes off in the distance, the helicopters over the Hudson, cars rumbling up and down the drive and especially when it rains - the tires sound squishy and sometime a foghorn from a tanker on the river... the # 5 bus that makes its own special noises. The wooden figures, odd lamps, pictures on the shelf above - there are so many things to look at and admire. The wooden figures, odd lamps, pictures on the shelf above - there are so many things to look at and admire. The eccentric pieces everywhere, the Dutch chandelier I brought here from Boston thirty years ago. I love to sit at the round glass table and look at the wall of Sean Scullys, Motherwells David Sawin paintings - and through the French glass doors to see the wall of books in the library. It's really beautiful! And as I sit here, looking the other way through the French doors to my studio - great to have the studio nearby.
- Barbara Westman