Brief Biographies of Artists and Designers of the Doheny Memorial Library
Several reputable artists and designers were involved with decorating the Doheny Memorial Library building. Many lived in California, others had national fame.
Samuel J. Armstrong.
Painter and muralist. Decorated the Doheny Library Treasure Room. Born in Denver on November 7, 1893. At one point studied with Albert Herter, who decorated the California History (now Children's) department of the Los Angeles Public Library. Since the 1920s lived in the state of Washington. Murals in Fox Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara; portraits for the Temple of Justice in Olympia, Washington. Founded the Armstrong School of Architecture in Tacoma, WA., 1923. Art editor at the Tacoma News Tribune from 1918 Ð 1928.
Wilbur Herbert Burnham, Sr.
Artist, designer of stained glass murals. Designed the large stained glass windows in the main hall of the Doheny Library. Died in 1984.
For additional information on Burnham, check the text from an undated brochure, copies of which may be found in the Burnham files, the Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.
Sculptor. Carved exterior sculptures on the Doheny building. Born in 1867 in Switzerland Came to the U.S. in 1887. Worked on sculptures for the Library of Congress, Los Angeles City Hall, the Los Angeles Times building, St. Vincent church, and various U.S. state houses. Died on November 16, 1936 in Los Angeles.
A. E. Hanson.
Landscape architect. Designed the Doheny patio and the park in front of the building. Born December 20, 1893, in Chino, CA. Educated as a plantsman. Was inspired by Mediterranean gardens, and added exotic plants imported from Australia, Africa, and South America to create a distinctive Southern California-style garden. Private estate projects include the Harold Lloyd Estate in Beverly Hills (1925-29); the Italian gardens for Kirk Johnson in Montecito (1928-29); the Spanish Andalusian garden for Archibald B. Young in Pasadena (1929); the Mrs. Daniel Murphy garden in Los Angeles (1932); the Henry Kern garden in Holmby Hills (1925); the George I. Cochran garden in Los Angeles (1928), and the Lockhart garden (1928; became the residence of the mayor of Los Angeles). Large scale land use projects included the management of the Vanderlip estate in Palos Verdes Estates (1931-32); development of Rolling Hills (1932-41); and development of Hidden Hills after World War II.
Architect and artist. Designed the mosaics and the medallion on the main Doheny facade, for which he received the American Institute of Architects Honor Award from the Los Angeles Chapter. Born in Keene, New Hampshire, January 1899. Grandson of W. P. Phels, a painter of cattle and landscapes. Studied with Samuel Lunden in the Department of Architecture at MIT. Was employed by Cram & Ferguson, and came to Los Angeles in April 1929 as Chief Designer of Samuel Lunden. In the employ of Lunden, became the Chief Designer of the Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building on Spring Street. As painter, held many one man exhibitions in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Died on October 11, 1979 in Los Angeles.
Holger Jensen and Helen Webster Jensen.
Sculptors. Designed the bas relief on the Hoover facade of the Doheny building. Holger Jensen was born in Aalborg, Denmark in 1895. He came to the United States in 1908, and lived in Santa Monica for over 50 years before moving to Washington. Helen Webster Jensen studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Holger and Helen Jensen sculpted busts of, among others, the Los Angeles Times founders Harry Chandler and General Harrison Gray Otis, for display in the Times building; Robert Millikan, on display at Caltech; Senator John P. Jones, founder of Santa Monica; A. W. Ross, the developer of Wilshire Blvd.; Joseph Knowland, the founder of the Oakland Tribune; the astronomer George Hale; L. A. County Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz; Allan Hancock; Dwight D. Eisenhower; A. P. Gianini; and animals for the San Diego Zoo. Holger Jensen died in Chehalis, WA on January 12, 1980.
Joseph Mario Korbel.
Sculptor. Sculpted the marble bust of Edward L. Doheny Jr. for the Treasure Room. Born in Osik, Bohemia, 23 March 1882, studied in Berlin, Munich and Paris. Came to the U.S. in 1900. His sculptures may be seen at the University of Havana, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Detroit Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art , Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney, the Vatican, and private collections. His public monuments are the Soldier monument erected by the State of Illinois and the McPhee memorial in Denver. Korbel was member of the Czechoslovak Club of New York and Chicago; the National Sculpture Society New York chapter; and Architectural League, New York. Died on March 31, 1954 in New York.
Samuel Eugene Lunden.
Architect. Designed the Doheny building. Born in Chicago, July 14, 1897. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1921. Was member of the American Students Reconstruction Unit in France, and studied the ruins of a church in Verdun for reconstruction. Started his professional career with Cram & Ferguson in Boston, and worked in Los Angeles and Southern California through most of his life. Designed the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange (1929), City Hall South (1954), Los Almas School for girls (now Dorothy Kirby Center), and many other buildings in Los Angeles and Southern California. Was commissioned by Mrs. Doheny to do interior design for the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Los Angeles. Served as architect on several other USC projects, notably the Hancock Foundation building (1940), the Elizabeth Von KleinSmid International women's residence halls in 1951, renovation of Bovard Auditorium in 1979, and expansion of Doheny in the 1960s. Was president of the American Institute of Architects in 1965. Died June 16, 1995 in Los Angeles.
John (Giovanni) D. Smeraldi.
Artist, muralist, and furniture designer. Decorated the ceilings on the first floor of the Doheny building. Born in 1868 in Palermo, Italy. Worked as an apprentice on several palaces at the Vatican. Came to America in 1889. Was chief designer for Marcotte & Co. His work is contained in several Vanderbilt houses. Is said to have painted decorative ceilings and murals for many historical buildings in the East, including the Blue Room of the White House and New York's Grand Central Terminal. Decorated ceilings in the Crystal Ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel (assisted by Anthony B. Heinsbergen) and the Bridges auditorium at Claremont Colleges. Was involved in decorating the Biltmore hotels in Atlanta and New York, the Breakers in Palm Beach, and the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Since 1923 lived in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Died on May 14 1947 in Pasadena.
Interior decorator. Furnished the first floor of Doheny Library. Born in 1891. Decorated many Los Angeles homes and offices, and had a studio on Melrose pl. Died on December 16, 1959 of a heart attack at the Los Angeles Country Club.