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Neutra prototype to be sold by the family to benefit restoration of Neutra residences
The lamp, designed at Neutra’s Silver Lake workspace in 1942, has remained in the family’s California homes, passing through three generations of the Neutra family.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Dr. Raymond Richard Neutra, son of International style architect Richard Neutra, is auctioning a family heirloom: a Richard Neutra prototype lamp from the Channel Heights Housing Project. All proceeds from the sale of the prototype will go to the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation for the restoration of the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL studio and residences.

The lamp, designed at Neutra’s Silver Lake workspace in 1942, has remained in the family’s California homes, passing through three generations of the Neutra family. Dr. Raymond Richard Neutra explains his personal history with the lamp and the future of the surviving prototype:

“This lamp and I have grown old together, surviving the batterings of seven decades and showing the inevitable scars. Like me, it began its life in the experimental live/work space of the Neutra Studio and Residences in the Silver Lake District of Los Angeles. However, soon it was to be seen in use in the apartment that my father designed in 1942 for my grandparents on Kelton Avenue in Westwood. The electrical fire at Silver Lake in 1963 reduced another similar lamp to ash. It was said in the family that this kind of lamp had been designed by my father so that they could be easily built by shipyard workers at his now destroyed 1942 Channel Heights housing community. Recently when I discovered how potentially valuable this surviving lamp was, I decided that my parents would agree that I should donate it to the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation so that the [auction] proceeds could be used to repair the leaking roof of the Silver Lake Neutra VDL compound where the lamp and I began our lives.”

Peter Loughrey, Director of LAMA, explains the significance of the lamp: “One of only two known examples to survive, this lamp is the epitome of what would later be known as ‘form follows function.’ Four simple planks of wood, a pane of glass, a light bulb, and wire come together in an elegantly simple design that captures Neutra’s essence. His programmatic architecture is reflected in the cantilevered and asymmetrical elements.”

The lamp will go up for auction on May 6, 2012 in the Los Angeles Modern Auction (LAMA) Modern Art & Design Auction. Advance viewings begin April 25th, and the auction will be on May 6th at 12 p.m.

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