Tuesday, March 4, 2008

POSTCARD HISTORY LESSON - The White Gondola in Venice, California

Well, here she is folks: the legendary “white gondola” from Venice, California.
The Beatles had their White Album, Native Americans – the Great White Buffalo, and Venice, California had a White Gondola.
Am I making too big a deal of things here? Yeah, probably. The fact is that we have several white gondolas in America today:
The Venetian hotel and casino in Las Vegas has a special gondola just for weddings – complete with gold-leaf accents, varnished wood decks, and a white hull.
Some of my friendly competitors in Newport Harbor, Gondola Romance, drive three white motorized gondolas, which have been around since the 80’s.
Joe Munday, founder of the Gondola Society of America, built over a dozen motorized gondolas, most of them white, and his current craft – the Crystal Swan is white.

What makes the gondola in the photo above so unique, is that it was likely painted white by Venetians. It’s one thing for us crazy Americans to paint a gondola white, it’s quite another thing for a transplanted Venetian to go against centuries of tradition and paint his gondola the opposite of black.

If someone were to ask me if I thought a Venice-built gondola would look good in white, I probably would have encouraged them to choose another color, but by keeping the rails of this gondola a darker color, the boat looks great, with a contrasting rail that accentuates her unique curvature.

Many of the red and green hulls we see from Abbott Kinney’s Venice, came from the early 20’s time period, This curious white gondola image comes from a postcard that was postmarked in 1909.
Theories anyone?
I have several of my own.

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