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New England Regional

The Frelinghuysen Morris House

September-October 2007

The following text is a sidebar to "Modern and Historic," September-October 2007.

The Frelinghuysen Morris House

Lenox, Massachusetts

Suzy Freling Huysen and George L.K. Morris were prolific abstract artists at the forefront of the American art scene, starting in the 1930s. Known as the “Park Avenue Cubists,”both came from wealthy families and filled their Bauhaus-inspired white stucco home with their own animated frescoes and the works of cohorts A.E. Gallatin and Charles Shaw, as well as unusual works by Picasso and Gris. Their eccentric abode features a marbled foyer with a curved staircase and wrought-iron railing leading to bedrooms on the second floor and a sunken bar off an Art Deco living room that boasts a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with views of gardens sloping down to a pond. Morris’s north-facing art studio, built in 1930, was based on the workspace of Le Corbusier, with whom he had studied in Paris. The house, designed by John Butler Swann, followedin the early 1940s and sits on 46 acres of sun-dappled woodlands near Tanglewood. Walking trails abound, including a moss-covered fairy-tale pathway over a stream; dotted around the property are exquisite stone sculptures. Docent tours are offered, as is a comprehensive movie about the couple and their mission as early promoters of abstract art. As Morris once put it:“The hour is overdue for a refinement of sensibility in our vulgar modern world.”

Courtesy of Frelinghuysen Morris House