In the Loop
Faculty News : May 25, 2015

Professor Celeste Roberge’s work featured at Martha Stewart’s home

By Ashby Strauch

Professor Celeste Roberge’s sculpture, Granite Sofa, has been moved into the summer home of Martha Stewart in Seal Harbor, Maine, on an 18-month loan while the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, is under renovation.

This sculpture pays homage to Grecian Sofa by Samuel McIntire, a renowned American architect and sculptor during the late 18th and early 19th century.  The sculpture is a monument to domesticity and to the patroness who commissioned the original sofa.

“Reproducing a work of art is both an homage and a strategy for renewing interest in an earlier tradition in order to focus on aspects of the original that were not fully developed and to engage in a dialogue/critique that could not have occurred at an earlier time in history,” said Roberge.

Roberge hoped to emphasize the paradox that Grecian Sofa cannot fulfill its function as a piece of furniture because it is housed in a museum where viewers are not allowed to sit on it. Roberge’s Granite Sofa is fully functional by allowing viewers to use it as a piece of furniture. Because granite was a common material used in early American architecture and monument making, Roberge chose pink granite to reproduce the sculpture both as a reference to the tradition of the monument and, more specifically, as a tribute to the woman who commissioned the original Grecian Sofa.

Transporting and installing the 8-foot-long and four thousand pound sculpture proved to be a difficult venture, but now it is displayed safely in the main entrance hall of Martha Stewart’s summer home.

To view Martha Stewart’s blog post about temporarily housing Granite Sofa, click here.