Neutra lamp auction part of effort to fix Silver Lake landmark


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Four pieces of wood, some glass, a light bulb and wire. Do I hear $20,000? That’s the low estimate floated for a 1942 prototype lamp by Richard Neutra to be sold by Los Angeles Modern Auctions on May 6. The value, the auction house said, stems from the piece’s rarity: Only one other like it is known to exist.

Designed for Neutra’s parents’ house in Westwood, the lamp now belongs to Raymond Neutra, son of the iconic L.A. architect, who is donating proceeds toward the renovation of the Neutra VDL home and studio in Silver Lake. Robert Alexander, interim director of the landmark house, said the next phase involves reconstruction of the main roof by the L.A. firm Marmol Radziner, with hopes of eventually reviving Richard Neutra’s original vision: a rooftop reflecting pool with a surface that visually melds with the Silver Lake reservoir in the distance.


Sarah Lorenzen, who has been on sabbatical but will return as director in July, said the VDL house has received a $50,000 grant for the roof project from Friends of Heritage Preservation, described as a small L.A. association devoted to saving endangered artifacts and sites. With money raised by the Los Angeles Modern Auctions sale and donations from an Xavier Veilhan exhibit planned for August, Lorenzen said, roof repair on the VDL house could begin as soon as the fall. Corrected: An earlier version of this post mistakenly said Marmol Radziner was based in Culver City.


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-- Craig Nakano