I wonder how she’d feel today if she’d lived to see the legacy of her association with German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe despite her contempt for the man once rumored to be her lover.
Some say Edith was a woman scorned when their alleged affair during the construction of the house ran its course. Edith, the intellectual and independent woman met the married
architect/master-of-his-universe 59 year old Mies at a dinner party when she was 42. She said the house should come with a closet. He said it was a weekend house, hang your dress on the back of the bathroom door.
Tsk, tsk, tsk! Or as wise philosopher Groucho Marx noted, love flies out the door when money comes innuendo.
Personally I think with all the stones flying at the completion of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s architectural wonder, the modernist and his glass-and-steel house came away with a few cracks in the façade.
Of course, every house comes with a history, including the Farnsworth House. Edith didn’t get her fairy tale ending, but then few of us do. She sold the house in 1968 to Lord Palumbo, a British patron of the arts who collected modern architecture like others collect Rembrandts. He put the house up for auction in 2004 much to the chagrin of the state of Illinois given their inability to manage their own fiscal house, much less another.
Knowing the history behind this important piece of property, a private group in Illinois, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, managed to purchase the property for a little over $7.5 million. Farnsworth House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006 after joining the National Register of Historic Homes in 2004.
The day Jimmy and I toured the Farnsworth House with friends Lee and Bob Hruby and a handful of other visitors, Edith’s closet was nowhere to be found. The large piece had sustained damage during a flood (according to the latest reports, the house sustained flooding 6 different times) and had been removed for repairs. Eventually the closet would be on permanent display in a separate space adjacent to the Visitor’s Center dubbed the Barnsworth House by Illinois Institute of Technology students involved in the voluntary construction of the unit.
Everything else was sparse furnishings, a backdrop for the massive walls of glass. It was just as Mies would have wanted it.
school of design. This is not a house that begs for Chippendale chairs or a heavy dining table.
Nature’s canvas gently flowed into the space softening the strong geometric bones of the house. Even sleeping, I think I could find inspiration here;
Life would be lonely without my guy. It’s very true: home is where the heart is. Jimmy has my heart. He’s the reason I feel at home wherever we roam.