|THE KAUFFMAN HOUSE
"A SEMINAL MODERNIST MASTERPIECE"
|Kaufmann House on the night of Christie’s New York May 13 Spring 2008 Post-War and Christie’s
Realty International, Inc. is delighted to announce the sale of Richard Neutra’s seminal
Kaufmann House on the night of Christie’s New York May 13 Spring 2008 Post-War and
Contemporary Art Evening sale. Along with Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and
Philip Christie’s Realty International, Inc. is delighted to announce the sale of Richard
Neutra’s seminal Johnson’s Glass House, Neutra’s Kaufmann House is one of the most
important examples of modernist residential architecture in the Americas and remains
singular as the most important example of mid-century modernist architecture in the
Americas to remain in private hands. It carries an estimate of $15,000,000 to $25,000,000.
|In 1946, the Pittsburgh department
store magnate, Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr.,
who had previously commissioned
Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater,
engaged Richard Neutra to build a
house in the Palm Springs desert
as a winter retreat for his wife and him.
Representing the purest realization
of Neutra's modernist ideals, the
Kaufmann House's rigorously disciplined
design scheme integrates horizontal
planes of cantilevered roofs under
which blocks of glass floor-to-ceiling
sliding walls shimmer.
Set against the rugged backdrop of a
mountainous landscape in the Palm
Springs desert and positioned in an
equally minimalist paradise of manicured
lawns, placed boulders and plantings,
this modernist icon represents the
culmination of Neutra'shighly influential
achievement and contribution to
|When the current owners of this house acquired it in 1993, they were confronted with a radically
altered structure than that which had originally been conceived by Neutra. A number of owners
subsequent to Kaufmann, including the singer Barry Manilow, had added onto the house, and in
the process had buried Neutra’s original architectural plan.
|The current owners, in collaboration with the Santa Monica architecture firm Marmol & Radziner,
returned the house to its original condition. The project consisted of a forensic study into the
original conception of the house, and the integrity of the restoration that ensued is unparalleled.
For example, in order to restore portions of the exterior as well as the fireplace surrounds, both
which were originally made from Utah sandstone, a rock quarry in Utah that had not been
used since the 1940s was reopened so that the precise color of the stone, used for these
architectural components, could be matched.
|The restoration of the Kaufmann House was the first of its kind to be conducted in such a manner,
and resulted in an extraordinary public awareness of the important influence that mid-century
modern design has played in architectural history. Neutra houses, previously often bought as
teardowns for their land value, are now viewed as seminal cultural products to be preserved
and restoredto their original integrity. Architectural firms, contractors, academics and many
other professionals specializing in the restoration and preservation of mid-century modern
architecture have emerged as a result of the phenomena.
The Kaufmann House will be offered
for sale at auction in New York
exclusively by Christie's Realty
International, Inc. Christie's Great
Estates, Inc. is cooperating with
Christie's Realty International, Inc.
and is the exclusive selling agent
in California. Christie's
Realty International, Inc is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Christie's. Please
direct all inquiries to 212.468.7113 or
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