Marking the close of a watershed series of auctions for the Wolf Family Collection at Sotheby’s, which set a new benchmark for a collection of American art & objects as the most valuable of its kind ever offered, Sotheby’s announced that Art Bridges Foundation acquired the most significant collection of Frank Lloyd Wright drawings ever assembled in a private sale from the Wolf Collection.
The private acquisition follows Sotheby’s series of sales from The Wolf Family Collection, which achieved an astounding $68 million over the course of 10 cross-category live and online sales, with nine out of the 10 auctions meeting or exceeding their high estimates.
On public view at Sotheby’s during the exhibition for the Wolf Collection, these thirty-eight architectural renderings by Frank Lloyd Wright were acquired by Art Bridges in a landmark sale that followed a new auction record established for Wright only days earlier when his Ceiling Light from the Francis W. Little House, Peoria, Illinois sold for a record $2.9 million. The collection of drawings was assembled by Daniel Wolf, late son of Joy and Erving and brother of Mathew, who demonstrated incredible prescience of mind and forward-looking vision in the mid-1980s when he acquired the majority of these masterworks directly from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
This unparalleled group of drawings spans six decades of Wright’s prolific career, tracing the evolution of his approach to architecture from some of his earliest independent commissions in the late 1890s to the final designs before his death in 1959. When viewed chronologically, these drawings tell the story of Wright’s progression through his most iconic projects from his earliest drawings depicting the Prairie School period in Oak Park, Illinois to the late drawings which evince how Wright’s style matured and culminated in his most successful and celebrated realizations of organic architecture: Fallingwater, the Edgar J. Kaufmann House (1935) and the Solomon J. Guggenheim Museum (1959).
The acquisition of these major drawings by acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright provides Art Bridges the ability to collaborate with partners across the United States through the exhibition of these works. Art Bridges is especially excited by the prospect of loaning the works to universities with architectural programs that will be able to use Wright’s art as a catalyst for research and curatorial exploration within classrooms.
The Park District of Oak Park continues to face backlash over its removal of much of the original flooring at its Pleasant Home mansion. Landmarks Illinois has issued a formal letter to the park district, criticizing the taxing body for its “inexcusable treatment” of the historic mansion and its failure to inform the Pleasant Home Foundation of its plans.
“This is not the level of stewardship or of communication that we would hope to see from an entity like the Oak Park park district,” said Kendra Parzen, Landmarks Illinois advocacy manager, in a letter addressed to Jan Arnold, the park district’s executive director.
A statewide historic preservation nonprofit, Landmarks Illinois typically looks to community advocates and organizations to serve as watchdogs of local historic structures. In the case of Pleasant Home, however, Landmarks Illinois now has its eye on the park district.
“This warrants a slightly heightened level of attention going forward,” Parzen told Wednesday Journal.
Landmarks Illinois has called on the park district to be better stewards of Pleasant Home, a National Historic Landmark, by voluntarily seeking protection of the mansion’s interior through the Village of Oak Park’s preservation commission. Doing so would necessitate the park district going through the village’s Historic Preservation Committee before making major changes to the home’s interior, as well as its exterior. This is something that the park district has not yet discussed doing, according to PDOP Executive Director Jan Arnold.
Additionally, Landmarks Illinois has requested that the park district make a better effort to engage local experts and the Pleasant Home Foundation, a non-profit entity independent of PDOP that is dedicated to the home’s preservation. Landmarks Illinois has supported the foundation’s work in the past, awarding it preservation grants in 2007 and 2016.
Pleasant Home, completed in 1897 and designed by George W. Maher, is a prime example of early Prairie style architecture, most frequently associated with Maher’s contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright. The park district assumed ownership of the home decades ago, making it a public property available for tours and event rentals. Tours, like preservation, fall under the foundation’s umbrella.
The Honeycutt House, designed by Lloyd Wright—son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright—seeks a new owner to revel in its recent restoration.
Completed in 1955, the midcentury modern gem is in Long Beach, CA, a coastal community 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The 2,382-square-foot home features three bedrooms and four baths and is listed for $2.95 million.
The iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed hundreds of residential properties in his career— Katherine McLaughlin of Architectural Digest spoke with seven homeowners about the ways Wright’s work impacts their lives.
"When I first moved to New York in 2018, my dad drove me straight from Indiana to Brooklyn, making just one stop in between: Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. Arguably Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic residential design, I spent most of the tour admiring the cantilevered rooms, listening to the sound of the waterfall below, and wondering what it would be like to live in a home designed by the American architect. Though my experience was confined to a 1.5-hour tour, even in that short period, I felt like something shifted. I could only imagine what his work would inspire when it became part of one’s daily life."
For some people, this is their reality. Every morning and night, Wright’s work shelters and comforts them—and has profound impacts on the ways they view the world. In this article, AD speaks with Dave McArdle about the Fredrick House in Barrington, Illinois, as well as six others, about living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house and how the experience has shaped them.