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Celebrate Parish-Hadley’s Legacy with December 6 Discussion and Book Signing

November 4, 2015

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will present a discussion of “The Genius of Albert Hadley and Sister Parish” and a book signing for Parish-Hadley Tree of Life: An Intimate History of the Legendary Design Firm on Sunday, December 6, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Icon of 20th century taste Albert Hadley (1920-2012) was a native Middle Tennessean who studied drawing at Watkins Institute as a teenager. In 1962 he co-founded Parish-Hadley, Associates with his partner and fellow Interior Design Hall of Fame member Sister Parish, and the firm set the standard for American style in the finest homes for more than three decades.

The panel discussion will take place in the Watkins Theater from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m., with book signing and light refreshments following. This event is free and open to the public.

Click link to open the event invitation: Parish-Hadley Dec.6.15 evite f

In Parish-Hadley Tree of Life by Brian McCarthy and Bunny Williams (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, October 13, 2015, hardcover with jacket), 30 of the most renowned designers relate in detail their personal experiences working at the firm, accompanied by images of their own work, past and present, illustrating how their designs were shaped by Parish-Hadley. Parnassus Books will be onsite for purchases.

Book contributors who will be speaking at Watkins are:

  • Libby Cameron: She opened Libby Cameron LLC (New York) in 1995 after spending 14 years at Parish-Hadley, Inc. (she became a partner in 1989) – libbycameron.com
  • Todd Klein: After a successful formative career in Louisville, Kentucky, he worked at Parish-Hadley before establishing Todd Klein, Inc. (New York) – toddklein.com
  • John Tackett: After working at Parish-Hadley, he founded John Tackett Design (Memphis) in 1987 – dclassicist.blogspot.com

Noted landscape architect Ben Page of Page Duke (Nashville) will serve as moderator.

Mr. Hadley’s sister, Betty Hadley, who lives in Nashville, will also be in attendance as will Cheryl Gulley, chair of the Department of Interior Design at Watkins.

Albert Hadley B&W headshot WwebjpgAlbert Hadley attended Peabody College for two years and began his professional career with a position as junior assistant to prominent Nashville-based decorator A. Herbert Rogers. In 1942 he was drafted into the Army, serving overseas as a company payroll clerk. With the help of the G.I. Bill, he was able to make the long-awaited move to New York in 1947 to attend the Parsons School of Design, and he was offered a teaching job shortly after his graduation in 1949. He formed his own studio prior to joining McMillen, Inc., in 1956, at the time the most prestigious decorating firm in the country, and worked there until beginning a 33-year partnership with Sister Parish (she died in 1994.) After closing Parish-Hadley in 1999, he again became independent, continuing to work well into his 80s.

His work is defined by a keen sense of architectural detail and proportion, carefully edited decorative schemes and a sustained sense of tradition combined with curiosity for the contemporary. His clients included Jacqueline Kennedy, Brooke Astor, Babe and William S. Paley, Albert Gore, Oscar de la Renta, Diane Sawyer, and members of the Rockefeller, Whitney, Bronfman, Mellon and Getty families.

Albert Hadley received the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, from Watkins in 2010.

“Never less, never more,” Mr. Hadley was fond of saying of a well-realized interior. “Glamour is part of it,” he added in a 2004 interview in New York magazine. “But glamour is not the essence. Design is about discipline and reality, not about fantasy beyond reality.”

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. in Metro Center. Free parking is available in the campus lot.