Set Pieces: ‘Mad Men’ gets the David Weidman memo
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Poor Peggy Olson. The ‘Mad Men’ copywriter (played by Elisabeth Moss, above) has to fight for respect from her male colleagues (and office queen bee Joan), she frequently commits fashion don’ts, and she has an uncanny knack for choosing the wrong men.
Happily, her taste in art is unimpeachable. In a recent episode, I spotted what appeared to be two prints by Los Angeles artist David Weidman, whom I recently profiled. A quick call to his daughter, Lenna, confirmed that the 1960s works were, in fact, Weidman’s and are available for purchase through the website Weidman’s Art.
‘The Girls,’ near right, measures 11 by 30.5 inches and sells for $575. ‘Flowers II,’ far right, is 15 by 29 inches and priced at $550. (A version in blue is $450.)
‘The style is very distinctive and indicative of that era and the popularity of Danish modern,’ set decorator Claudette Didul says of Weidman’s work. ‘They remind me of pictures I saw growing up and seemed in keeping with Peggy’s sensibilities and reflect her younger and somewhat more cheerful outlook.’
The offices of Peggy’s agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, offer a stark contrast to the somewhat gloomy homes of the characters. Don Draper’s bachelor pad is downright dreary, but he works in an environment bursting with color, one that reflects the bright optimism of mid-1960s design. To see more of it, keep reading....
Peggy watches Don Draper (Jon Hamm) get knocked down in the firm’s creative lounge, where ideas are kicked around. The communal space features a conference table surrounded by Executive side chairs designed by Eero Saarinen. ‘They are marked 1964 and were purchased from Santiago’s on Lankershim in North Hollywood,’ Didul says. The credenza is Danish, and the orange button-tufted sofas are replicas of classic midcentury modern designs by Knoll.
The office of partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery), above left, was orchestrated by his new young wife, Jane, ‘who hired a decorator, spent a lot of money and wanted it to be very modern and new,’ Didul says. ‘The series creator Matthew Weiner had a line in the first script of the season where a comment is made to Roger that his office looks like an Italian hospital.’
His desk is a marble-topped Saarinen table with a trumpet base. The mushroom-shaped lamp is the Nesso, a 1962 design by Artemide.
The Time-Life executive desk chair and the Compact sofa, above right, are Eames designs for Herman Miller. The table and stools are Saarinen. The paintings, done in the style of Op artist Bridget Riley, were created by the ‘Mad Men’ art department under the supervision of production designer Dan Bishop.
-- David A. Keeps
‘Mad Men’ photo credits: Mike Yarish / AMC
Weidman credits: Designs copyright David Weidman 1963-1980, all rights reserved