Sunday, December 4, 2011

Architect Thomas Hastings

THOMAS HASTINGS was born in I860, the son of the Rev. Thomas Hastings, an eminent Presbyterian divine, who was for years the president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. His mother was a Miss de Groot, an American of Dutch and French parentage.
He received his professional education at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, studying in the atelier of M. Jules Andre, and took the full course in the Department of Architecture. Mr. Hastings has had many honors conferred upon him for his eminence in his profession. He is a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, decorated by the French Government, a director of the Museum of French Art, a corresponding member of the Royal Vienna Association of Architects, an academician of the National Academy of Design, a member of the Federal Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, chairman of the Lincoln Highway Commission, a fellow and director of the American Institute of Architects, and has been president of the Architectural League. In 1884 he formed a partnership with the late John M. Carrere.
To appreciate the varied work of Mr. Hastings, from his first burst of exuberance in the Ponce de Leon Hotel to the restraint of the Frick house in New York, there must be an understanding of the sensitive qualities of his mind to the subtleties of expression, the modulations of composition, the pleasure in delicate detail, and even the delights of fantasy. From whatever source he gleans an inspiration, whether it be from Spain or from his beloved France, he penetrates the spirit of his chosen example and saturates himself with its character before he translates it into a new creation which has become a part of himself. His choice is that of a classicist who is eclectic within a selfimposed range which seldom is sympathetic with the Gothic spirit. That this is the case is natural; for his mind, though alert in fancy, seeks expression in formulated terms, in intellectual conventions, produced from serious study. He can better endure enthusiasm controlled by precedent than exuberance breaking a path to new vistas. Therefore his work manifests not only the good taste of his appreciation, but also that of training. Whether it be broad and simple, or decorative and complex, a refinement of line and of surface, of arrangement and of light and of shade, all give evidence of the careful study it has received. —C. H. W.

Lifted from The Brickbuilder 1915.

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