Neutra's Kaufman House Sells for $16.8 Million

In the leafy suburbs of Connecticut, Stone's Celanese House sold for $4.1 million. But in the California desert, Neutra's Kaufman House sold for much more -- $16.8 million. Christie's sold it, along with a trove of paintings. The Times reports:

Considering that a painting went for more than $50 million, the Kaufmann House, in Palm Springs, Calif., a 1946 Modernist landmark in glass, steel and stone designed by the architect Richard Neutra, was a veritable bargain. It was being sold by Brent Harris, an investment manager, and Beth Edwards Harris, an architectural historian, who are divorcing.

The home, which was originally commissioned as a desert retreat by Edgar J. Kaufmann, the Pittsburgh department store magnate for whom Frank Lloyd Wright built Fallingwater in Pennsylvania a decade earlier, met its low $15 million estimate (or with commission, $16.8 million).

After the sale, Marc Porter, Christie’s president in America, said the buyer, whom he declined to name, exercised an option to purchase an orchard adjacent to the property for an additional $2.1 million that includes three cacti that were a present from Frank Lloyd Wright to Mr. Kaufmann on his first visit to the home.

It isn’t the first time a Modernist house has been sold at auction. Over the years both Christie’s and Sotheby’s have offered such architecturally important dwellings as Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and a 1950 town house on East 52nd Street that Philip Johnson designed as a guest house for Blanchette Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller III.

I borrowed the photo, above, from Flickr. -- ta

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