SUMMARY OF PRESENTATION BY DAVID WEEKS -
NOTES ON THE CA'd'ZAN
1. Sgraffitto - 2-toned design in panels above windows. Renaissance
technique involving etching a design into top layer to reveal color of bottom layer.
2. Many symbols throughout:
o Cornucopia and fruits = hospitality
o Oak and acorn = male strength
o Griffins of Venice.
3. Glazed multicolored Terracotta pieces. Mable had seen something like them in
Bonaventura Monastery near Buffalo, NY. Corbels under balconies of Ca d'Zan represent
largest multicolored works in America; more colors than anywhere other than in early Della
Robbia works. Terracotta was chosen for its lighter weight (than stone), and allows
incorporation of many attractive colors.
4. Tower was not inspired by Madison Square Garden tower or Giralda tower in Seville. It
is prominent only from land side of the Building. Mable had wished to have tower like that
of old MSG (where Stanford White had his studio at the time - and which John did visit as
chief shareholder in Madison Square Garden and Chairman of the Board); Dwight James Baum
eliminated that from the design and created the tower on-site. Adam is NOT John, but young
man who worked at O.W. Ketchup of Crum Lynne, PA (near Philadelphia). Nor is that Mable up
5. From the terrace and John's office, all John could see belonged to him. He did raise
turtles in turtle pen, bayside, for the turtle soup he liked to offer. Facade above west
facade of Ca d'Zan incorporates details of Bauer Grunewald facade in Venice - with touches
of Ca d'Oro and Doge's Palace. Foyer arches are from Danieli.
6. Some art now in galleries had been at times in Ca d'Zan - paintings had been moved
around. Frans Snyder, " Still Life" did at one time hang in the Breakfast or
Dining Room. But house has little wall space, was never meant to display many paintings,
but the two Savely Sorine portraits (1926) did flank the Aeolian organ in the Great Hall.
7. There were about 1350 residents in Sarasota when John and Mable purchased Palms Elysian
8. Dwight James Baum sought materials characteristic of Venetian Gothic facades, but also
suited to Sarasota's hot weather. Satisfied by use of glazed, polychrome terracotta tiles
- produces effect of Faenza, in red/blue/green/yellow/ivory - and rose cream stucco.
Construction of terracotta T-blocks is strong yet much lighter in weight than stone.
9. House structure/layout is essentially 'functional,' in the American sense, and
facilitates entertaining. Retains some Italian Renaissance villa/country-house
characteristics such as tower and rooms off large central hall. Ogee shape of windows is
Venetian - reveals Moorish influences.
10. Gold damask on walls of Reception and Ball Room added by Chick Austin in attempt to
make Ca d'Zan a museum of things Venetian for which John had indicated a desire.
11. Chandelier is from original Waldorf Astoria Hotel torn down in 1929 to make room for
Empire State Building.
12. In 'Pogany,' accent is on 'Po,' according to one of Willi's descendants, who so
13. Some furniture is from Gavet Collection, and some antique and reproductions Mable and
John picked up at auctions when Fifth-Avenue and other mansions of the rich (like Astors,
Vanderbilts, Goulds) were being torn down (to be replaced by commercial buildings) and the
furnishings were up for sale. The throne or footman chairs in the Foyer of Ca d'Zan came
from George J. Gould's 'Georgian Court' in New Jersey.
14. Gold leaf in John's bedroom ceiling and around doors cost $7300. when done in 1924-26.
Today, it would have cost about $100,000.
15. Zalophus sank in waters off Siesta Key. Some furnishings were carried by tides up to
Cortez in Bradenton - including the two chairs that flank table that bears 'Delft' bird
cage in Great Hall, and the chaise in Mable's room.