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Stephanie O’Malley, Lizzy Albinson Featured for Citizen Kane Discovery

Black and white photo of a Citizen Kane set
Cit­i­zen Kane pro­duc­tion still depicts the bed­room of Susan Alexan­der Kane at Xanadu. Assist­ing in the film’s look were art direc­tor Van Nest Pol­glase, set dec­o­ra­tor Dar­rell Sil­vera and set dresser A. Roland Fields. The large, strange, dark object built into the wall at the back of the set has puz­zled researchers for years. (Cour­tesy of the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Library) 

Wellesnet, the lead­ing online source of infor­ma­tion about the life, career and work of Orson Welles, recently pub­lished a dis­cov­ery made by an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research team at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, home of the largest repos­i­tory of Welles papers in the world.

For the past few years, a small team of pro­gram­mers and artists at the university’s Dud­er­stadt Cen­ter have been work­ing to re-cre­ate one of the Cit­i­zen Kane sets in vir­tual real­ity for use as a teach­ing and learn­ing tool. The team includes Stephanie O’Malley, a 3D artist in the university’s Emerg­ing Tech­nolo­gies Group and instruc­tor in the School of Art & Design and Cen­ter for Entre­pre­neur­ship — and recent Stamps alum Lizzy Albinson (BFA 20).

In the group’s efforts, there was one Cit­i­zen Kane set object that had stumped researchers for years: a large, strange, dark object built into the wall at the back of the set. 

Lizzy Albinson solved the decades-old mys­tery as part of her work on the research team: the bed­room set prop was a kach­e­lofen — a tiled Euro­pean-style stove used to heat a room.

I’m actu­ally newly acquainted with kach­e­lofen,” Albinson said. As I was pon­der­ing the mys­tery object, I thought the object was bar­rel-shaped and maybe held water and my dad sug­gested it was a water heater of some sort. I zeroed in on heat because that was a good rea­son to have this object fenced off in the corner.”

She added, The kach­e­lofen is a tiled stove intended to heat one or more rooms by cap­tur­ing heat from fast-burn­ing fuel (like wood) in the tiles and then slowly releas­ing the heat to the sur­round­ing room. Tiled stoves seem to be fairly com­mon but ones with such dec­o­ra­tive tiles and ornate struc­ture would only be found in very wealthy homes.”

Cit­i­zen Kane’ mys­tery solved 80 years later — and it’s not Rose­bud’ | Wellesnet

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