Louis Rorimer: A Man of Style

Louis Rorimer: A Man of Style

Louis Rorimer: A Man of Style

Louis Rorimer: A Man of Style

Excerpt

In 1892, while studying art in Munich, young Louis Rorimer wrote to his brother-in-law in Cleveland to ask for money to go to Paris. "I believe in ones going to the best place if he can," Rorimer wrote. For the next half century Rorimer's knack for recognizing opportune places was a key element in the making of an American success story. He was a gifted designer among many other talented artists, yet Rorimer was unique in the ability to realize his artistic, economic, and personal dreams.

Five years studying, making contacts, and witnessing the exciting events taking place on the European art scene of the 1890s established Europe as Rorimer's source of ideas on the international level, and throughout his lifetime he returned there on a regular basis. New York was the major link between Rorimer-Brooks and the national scene, and Rorimer commuted even more frequently to New York. Although he chose his birthplace, Cleveland, Ohio, as the location for his interior design studios, his reputation soon spread and Rorimer‐ Brooks Studios became one of America's leading interior design firms.

Whereas Europe and New York provided cultural enrichment and contacts, Cleveland offered great economic opportunities in the early twentieth century. Industrial and commercial growth begat residential expansion, particularly in the suburbs, and the eastern suburbs became Rorimer's most reliable market. Increased prosperity and awareness of a need for professional interior designers provided the climate in which Rorimer-Brooks flourished. There was considerable need yet few sources for high-quality interior design in the Cleveland area, and Rorimer had the good fortune and the good sense to remain there in the midst of its development.

Except for a short-lived branch studio at Shaker Square, Cleveland's exclusive suburban shopping area, Rorimer-Brooks's only location was in downtown Cleveland. Rorimer built the first commercial building on "Millionaires' Row," at 2232 Euclid Avenue through Studios Realty Company, of which he was president. The Northern Italian classical-style building was selected from among 180 commercial buildings of three or less stories erected in Cleveland in 1916 . . .

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