Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goodies with Aloha

To round out my second week of posts about Hawaii, here's a little something about the cultural life of Oahu.  The Honolulu Academy of Arts (its site and much of the contents) was a bequest to the people of Hawaii by Anna Rice Cooke, a member of one of the early missionary families in Hawaii and wife to another wealthy missionary/trader.  The Academy is another one of those small museums that I love.  You can get around it in a day and not feel as if you've missed much.  It is arranged around several inner courtyards designed in Moorish and Chinese styles.  The museum's architect was originally Bertram Goodhue, of NY.  He died before the museum was completed and so the project was completed by Hardie Philip who also designed the C. Brewer House, in my previous post.  As with that building, it is graceful, generously proportioned and elegantly but discreetly finished.  The museum has a wonderful collection of Western European painting including pieces by all the great Impressionists, beautiful furniture, and excellent Asian, Indian and Islamic collections.

At her death, Doris Duke, the energy heiress, willed her Honolulu estate in the Islamic style, Shangrila, to the Academy as well as some of its contents.  Much of her jewelry was subsequently auctioned by Christie's.  The Academy, however, retained some pieces, some beautiful items of Islamic art, (which she collected in a volume and variety that was uncommon for her time), which are displayed in their own space at the Academy along with a short video describing her time in Hawaii. Guided tours of Shangrila are offered by the Academy.  Doris Duke particularly loved Hawaii.  She liked how she was able to get away from the "society" into which she was born and she surfed and socialized with the famous Kahanamoku brothers who called her "LahiLahi", or "fragile" in Hawaiian.

(Sadly, most of these pieces are now

once again

in private hands.  Lucky buyers!)

Equally beautiful to me but in a completely different vein, 

are these pieces of Philipino folk jewelry.

Also on display at the Academy.

Delicate hair ornaments.


and earrings which have a very contemporary feel to them.

If you are in Honolulu, don't miss the Honolulu Academy of Art.  It also has a cafe (open Tues.-Sat. only for lunch) that is one of the nicest open air restaurants in Honolulu and serves yummy chocolate pots de creme.

I'll do another post soon about other items in their collection.


  1. Loved the hair ornaments and the contemporary style earrings...that particular form of the shell bit was to die for...that pared down form that is no doubt n=influenced by something from nature!
    Fascinating story of the museum... not to forget the Doris Duke inheritance!
    soinds like a must see MP!

  2. they are just incredible! thanks for sharing these images, love them! jx

  3. These are STUNNING!!! I love little museums like this, full of delightful bits of history and treasure. :-)

  4. Wonderful collection and indeed as mentioned very energetic... love to visit such places

  5. That last photo of the building is breathtaking!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.