Tag: Giammartini (Achille)

  • Third Avenue Front of the Times Building

    Third Avenue front of the Times Building

    The Times Building, designed by Frederick Osterling in his Richardsonian Romanesque period, is a block deep, so it has fronts on both Fourth Avenue and Third Avenue. The Fourth Avenue front is narrower; the Third Avenue front has one more bay, and a single grand arch in the middle. The decorative carving is probably by Achille Giammartini, who is known to have worked with Osterling on the Marine Bank and the Bell Telephone Building, and all his trademark whimsy is on display here.

    Face
    Face
    Foliage
    Face in profile
    Corner of the arch
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • A Stony Row on Liverpool Street, Manchester

    Row at Liverpool and Fulton Streets
    Kodak EasyShare Z1285.

    This row of stone-fronted houses is a good example of late-Victorian eclecticism. The heavy rustic stone and elaborate foliage decorations say “Romanesque,” but the porch columns have “modern Ionic” capitals typical of the Renaissance. And it all works together just fine, though it might give an architectural pedant hives.

    Modern Ionic capital
    Nikon COOLPIX P100.
    Foliage

    The stonecarving was probably done by Achille Giammartini, who lived a few blocks away on Page Street.

    Achille Giammartini advertising his services

    Hiding in the shadows is a whimsical grotesque face that may remind us of somebody we know.

    Grotesque foliage face
    Row of stone houses
    Front door

    Note the old address, 185, carved in stone beside the door to what is now 1305 Liverpool Street. The addresses in Manchester changed at about the time Allegheny was taken into Pittsburgh.

    1301–1309 Liverpool Street, Manchester
  • Decorations by Achille Giammartini on the German National Bank

    Romanesqu apital with face

    The German National Bank—now the Granite Building—is one of the most ornately Romanesque constructions ever put up in a city that was wild for Romanesque. The architect was Charles Bickel, but much of the effect of the building comes from the lavish and infinitely varied stonecarving of Achille Giammartini, Pittsburgh’s favorite decorator of Romanesque buildings.

    We have sixteen more pictures in this article, and this is only a beginning. Old Pa Pitt will have to return several more times with his long lens to document Giammartini’s work on this building.

    (more…)
  • Achille Giammartini

    Purely by accident, old Pa Pitt stumbled on this portrait of the great architectural sculptor Achille Giammartini, whose work adorns churches, houses, and commercial buildings all over the city. There is almost no trace of Giammartini on the Web: in fact, search engines usually come up with no more than half a dozen results, and the first two are usually from Father Pitt. So this seems like as good a time as any to announce Father Pitt’s new project.

    Bit by bit, Father Pitt is building a Pittsburgh Encyclopedia, where he will keep detailed information about architects, sculptors, neighborhoods, and such things, so that he can refer to those articles rather than repeating himself every time he publishes a new picture. Something similar has worked well with Flora Pittsburghensis and the Flora Pittsburghensis reference site.

    At present the Pittsburgh Encyclopedia is just beginning: it has nine articles in total. But we have just added an article on Achille Giammartini that gathers more information about him than exists in any other single place on the Web.

  • Fifth Ward Manual Training School, Manchester

    Fifth Ward Manual Training School

    Now part of the Conroy Early Childhood Center, this old school hovers between classical and Romanesque styles, which means that perhaps the best term for it is Rundbogenstil, the word old Pa Pitt most likes to pronounce in public.

    Since it has been made an annex of a larger building, it no longer requires its main entrance, which leads to this architectural dissonance:

    Main entrance

    Addendum: The particularly fine inscription and relief work were done by Achille Giammartini, who lived a few doors down on Page Street.

  • Achille Giammartini House, Manchester

    In context on Page Street

    It looks like an ordinary Romanesque rowhouse, like hundreds of others in Pittsburgh. But as we approach it, we notice an unusually lush growth of grotesque foliage in the carved stone relief.

    Front of the house
    Grotesque foliage with dragons and faces

    You can enlarge this picture to admire the many whimsical details. According to a local historian who left a comment here a decade ago, this was the home of Achille Giammartini, the uniquely talented stonecarver whose work can still be found all over the city, especially on the North Side. The comment is worth reproducing in full:

    Much of the local stone carving as well as work across the North Side, downtown, Carnegie Mellon University, etc was done by Achille Giammartini who built the house at 1410 Page St, near Page St & Manhattan St, in Manchester (beside Allegheny West). Although this was his personal residence he used the exterior as a “billboard” for his considerable skills. —Mark

    Some years later, we received a very interesting comment from G. Blair Bauer, a lineal descendant of the sculptor, in reply to the comment from Mark:

    Thank you, Mark. He was my great grandfather and his daughter, my grandmother, told us little about him. I remember one Christmas we got delayed going to my grandmother’s for dinner in Allegheny West because they were tearing down all the old townhouses. My grandmother said that her father had carved a lot of the mantels for the living rooms. My mother was horrified and said she wished that she had known as she would have gotten a mantel for each of us 4 children. Grandma replied, “He worked with his hands; I want to forget about him.” Mother was so enraged we got up and left dinner on the table. I now have an address and will visit his house; hope there is a lot of his work visible.

    Well, the front would certainly have left a good impression of his talents. A prospective client who visited Mr. Giammartini at home would get the impression that here was a remarkable artist, and the impression would be conveyed before the client even walked in the door. Even the address has a touch of Romanesque fantasy:

    1410
    Foliage
    Grotesque foliage with dragons
  • Romanesque Duplex in Manchester

    Front view of the houses

    A pair of Romanesque houses, mostly brick but with a splendid stone front. The decorations are extraordinarily fine, and Father Pitt suspects that they were by the extraordinary Achille Giammartini, who lived a few blocks away and was responsible for much of the ornamental stonecarving on the North Side.

    Grotesque face
    Another grotesque face
    Romanesque foliage
    Frieze
    Finial
    Roof ornament
    Corner view

    Map.