Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California
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Photographer: Cathe Centorbe

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In 1931 few women smoked in public, so an elegant private room was created on the lower level, adjoining the Women's Lounge. Prominent San Francisco painter Charles Stafford Duncan was commissioned to execute the murals over a black lacquered background suggested by architect Timothy Pfleuger.

- Paraphrased from The Oakland Paramount by Susannah Harris Stone
click for larger image click for larger image "The women's smoking room (in the basement) has black lacquer wooden walls accented by vermilion bands above the high baseboard and at the cornice, and by three bands of the same color dividing each corner horizontally into quarters. Opposite the entrance, a mural painted by Charles Stafford Duncan in a flat-color technique takes up most of the wall. It depicts a man, a summer-hatted woman, and two younger women picnicking under a green-leaved tree with red trunk and branches. Three sailboats and a cluster of small beige islands are in the background, and a bird flies into the tree. Half-figures by Duncan are centered on each side wall. One represents a girl in a yellow dress holding a red comic mask and a green tragic mask. There are shooting stars behind her head. The half-figure opposite depicts a girl in a red dress holding a small dark green harp.

The plaster ceiling has a series of receding planes, three narrow ones nearest the walls, two wider ones, and a central rectangular panel. The ceiling is finished in gold, with the edges of the recessions painted green. A simple lighting fixture in the form of an inverted half-tube of frosted glass is suspended horizontally just under the ceiling by metal straps. The plain carpet is vermilion. A black, green, and gold Art Deco console table stands before the large mural, its floral carving polychromed, and its shaped top veneered in an exotic wood. A pair of gold-upholstered semicircular armchairs in black, green, gold, and exotic veneer flank the table.

This small, richly colorful room contains what are probably the most elegant original examples of Art Deco furniture in the theatre."

- Historic American Buildings Survey Document No. CA-1976

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