Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) has announced that Frank Lloyd Wright’s George Sturges House will be among 75 lots from the estate of the actor and playwright Jack Larson to be auctioned on February 21. Best known for playing Jimmy Olsen on the original Adventures of Superman television series in the 1950s, Larson passed away in September of 2015.
Presented as part of the house’s larger seasonal sale of modern art and design objects, the Sturges House was designed by Wright in 1939. This is the first architectural property that LAMA has auctioned and the highest valued lot that they have ever presented, with an estimate of $2.5 million to $3 million. The property is being offered in a unique partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty.
LAMA’s owner and founder, Peter Loughrey, took some time to speak to Art+Auction’s Danielle Whalen about the Wright house and the new partnership.
Who was Jack Larson?
Larson may be best known for playing Jimmy Olsen, but he went on to have a varied career as playwright and producer, sometimes collaborating with his partner Jim Bridges, who was a director; one of his projects was Urban Cowboy. They were extremely connected to the community of gay artists and talent in Hollywood, and were something of mentors for a lot of artists, actors, and directors.
When did Larson acquire the George Sturges House?
When a house like this became available in 1967, Larson and Bridges were looking for something that exemplified their interests in all things artistic, it was very exciting for them to acquire. It was a trophy. It will be a trophy, probably, for the next owner.
One of the most interesting things about this house is that Jack lived there for 48-and-a-half years. Living the better part of 50 years in a Frank Lloyd Wright house is unheard of. What it says is this house is livable. People don't tend to live in Frank Lloyd Wright houses very long because they can be difficult to adapt to, but it was perfect for a pair of gentlemen like Jack and Jim.
Jack was extremely private, he rarely allowed anyone into the house. If you come across anybody who's a Frank Lloyd Wright fan or geek, like I am, most people tell you, “That's the one house I've never been in.” Just experiencing it is a big get. All of us have very creative ways of getting into these rare architectural properties. It's kind of like trainspotting for architecture fans.
Where does the George Sturges House fit in Frank Lloyd Wright’s career?
The house is mid-to-late career, after the period when he first came to Los Angeles in the early 1920s and concentrated on textile block houses like the Hollyhock House, the Storer House, and the Samuel Freeman House.