Interior designer's trademark rooms were comfortable, fresh and never overbearingly formal May 29, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
Billy Baldwin, the noted Baltimore-born interior designer whose clients included Cole Porter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mike Nichols, Harvey Ladew, William S. Paley and Diana Vreeland, among many others of the jeweled glitterati, is reported to have once said that "good taste is the dullest thing in the world." "Modernism at Evergreen: Baltimore's Billy Baldwin," a recently opened exhibition at the Evergreen Museum & Library, recalls the career of the man that The New York Times described on his death in 1983 as the "dean of American interior decorators, whose taste and sense of elegance enabled him to become the greatest influence on a generation of post- World War II designers."
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While the vest-pocket show is rich in Baldwin-related material and graphics that take in the breadth of his career from the 1940s until his death, the focus remains on his Baltimore roots and the enduring influences that the city and its artistic heritage had on his life's work. "Baltimore always continued to inspire him throughout his career. He was never comfortable in Paris or London and always wanted to head home," said James Archer Abbott, director and curator of the Evergreen Museum & Library, the former home of John Work Garrett, and his wife, Alice, who were patrons of the arts. Evergreen has been administered and owned by the Johns Hopkins University since 1942. William Williar Baldwin was born in 1903 and spent his early years in a shingled Woodlawn Road home before moving in 1906 to fashionable Goodwood Gardens in Roland Park. A formative influence on the young Baldwin, according to Abbott's thoroughly researched and...