The Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building are closed while their ceilings undergo restoration. Both rooms will re-open this fall.
This project became a high priority after a plaster rosette fell from the ceiling in the Rose Main Reading Room almost two years ago on May 28, 2014. Thankfully, no-one was hurt, at least in part because it happened in the middle of the night.
The New York Public Library closed the Rose Main Reading Room to the public immediately thereafter and called in WJE Engineers & Architects. The 78’ x 297’ Rose Reading Room underwent a $15,000,000 restoration that finished in 1998.
That project was financed by the Frederick P. Rose & Sandra P. Rose Foundation. Subsequently, the main reading room was named the Deborah, Johnathan F.P., Samuel Priest, and Adam Rose Main Reading Room in honor of Frederick and Sandra Rose’s children.
The Rose Main Reading Room’s oak tables and brass lamps bolted to them have been covered up while the ceilings are being restored. The large and medium-sized rosettes are being secured with aircraft cables. These are 1/8” steel cables.
Bill Mensching, Vice President and Director of the Mural Studio at the Evergreene Architectural Arts studio, and artist Zinni Veshi are painting a new 33’, 7 ½” x 27’, 7 ½” mural for the ceiling of the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room. [In 1994, the Public Catalog Room was renamed the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room in honor of the fashion designer, World War II veteran, and N.Y.P.L. Trustee William Ralph (“Bill”) Blass (1922-2002), who had donated $10,000,000 that year.] Their mural will replace a ceiling mural by James Wall Finn (1866-1913) that David W. Dunlap described as “damaged and disfigured” in The New York Times last week.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian-American novelist and short story-writer Jhumpa Lahiri kicked off the 2016 spring season of the program LIVE from the NYPL with a discussion of her book In Other Words, which concerns her love of Italian, on Thursday, March 3, 2016. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott and Norwegian-American authoress, poetess, essayist, and translator Siri Hustvedt, Ph.D., will discuss criticism today, Monday, March 7, 2016. Dr. Matt Mountain, President of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, and documentarian Nathaniel Kahn will talk about the recently-completed James Webb Telescope on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
The exhibit Printing Women: Three Centuries of Female Printmakers, 1570-1900 open now at the Schwarzman Building through May 27, 2016 includes the collection of Henrietta Louisa Koenen (1830-1881), which has not been on display since 1901. The Koenen collection includes works by artists Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) and Maria Cosway (1760-1838); Louis XV’s chief mistress Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (1721-1764), Marquise de Pompadour (1745-1764); Princess Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte (1802-1839), the daughter of Joseph-Napoléone Bonaparte, niece of Emperor Napoleon I and sister-in-law of Emperor Napoleon III; and Victoria (1819-1901), Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1837-1901) and Empress of India (1877-1901).