finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

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davidm
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:39 pm

finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by davidm »

my partner and i are the latest owners of the charles l. manson house in wausau wisconsin, completed in 1941. in doing some research on the house, we identified that the contents of the house were sold through a chicago auction house around 1990. the auction sale had a couple original chairs from the house, along with what was described in the auction listing as the original plan set. no record of the sale was available, as the auction house has changed ownership in the ensuing years.

as the new owners of the house, we are very interested in restoring the house to it original condition, and were we able to retrieve the original plan set and a couple of pieces of the original furniture that belonged to the house, we would be excited to have them.

i don't know of any specific dealers of wright furniture to even ask, though i did speak with someone at wright auctions in chicago, who were helpful and sympathetic to the spirit of the search, but were unaware of anyone having the furniture from the manson house.

i thought that i would post this in case anyone has had a similar experience, or if anyone out there has in their own collection, anything from the manson house.

thanks!

david.

DavidC
Posts: 7805
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by DavidC »

Hello David. Welcome to the Forum and congratulations on now owning a wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright home!

After a quick search, the only auction information I have found for Manson House furniture is a chair that was sold through Rago Auctions back in 2009 - (and, apparently, it didn't sell back then). You could try contacting them to see if they might have any further information on the piece.


David

SDR
Posts: 19472
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by SDR »

In searching for items from the Manson house I came across this document. Perhaps it would be of interest to David M, if he has not seen it already. How many Wright houses have been inspected by the National Park Service ?

https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/16000149.pdf

Were prints of the original drawings conveyed with the house ? Do they include the furniture designs ? Dining chairs were shown in photos of the house when it was offered for sale; are they copies of the originals, or something designed and executed by others ? Are there any original furnishings present, other than the built-in table in the living room and the as-yet unseen clothes-drying rack in the kitchen ?

The chair at Rago Auctions is most unusual---a unique Usonian piece. I haven't seen another with a seat like that. I'd love to see the back. These plywood chairs sometimes were intended to have a seat cushion; I wonder if this is one of them . . .

S

DRN
Posts: 3961
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by DRN »

Welcome David.
My wife and I own Wright's Sweeton house in Cherry Hill, NJ. Most of the furniture for our house had left the house by the time we bought it, leaving us with only one original chair....and a wayward hassock that was graciously donated "to the house" a couple of years ago.
As we had a full plate with our restoration of the house itself, the funds were not available for us to seek out and acquire the original furniture at the prices the market seems to "demand". We chose instead to have some pieces made using the original drawings. We had 3 hassocks made, and we are now in the process of having a table made. Our goal is to represent what was intended by Wright mixed with our own mid-century modern furniture. Objects of clean line, warm tone, and natural materials look good in the space, but Wright's own designs seem to sing in the spaces due to their modularity with the elements the make up the rooms themselves..

Reproduction of some pieces from the drawings and old photos, if you can find them, may be an option for you if having "the original" is not an absolute must.

SDR
Posts: 19472
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by SDR »

Sound advice. I haven't made a study of auction prices of Usonian furniture pieces, but I would bet that accurate copies in appropriate materials could be had for less than the cost of retrieving original chairs---at least. What say, Dan ?

S

DRN
Posts: 3961
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: finding original furniture & original plan set for the charles l. manson house, wausau wisconsin

Post by DRN »

I was able to find auction results for most of the pieces from the Sweeton House. The sum of the sales for the first sale of the pieces (some have sold multiple times like commodities) totaled over $80,000.
It should be noted that the Sweeton furniture made in 1950-51 was more humble than many Usonian pieces...it was constructed with veneer plywood, much of it offcuts from the construction of the interior partitions and cabinets of the house.

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