For Sale: One Butterfly Lamp

December 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dana-Thomas House Butterfly Lamp

Dana-Thomas House Butterfly Lamp

If you hurry, you can own a link to the Dana-Thomas House for a mere $200,000. The Bock butterfly hanging lamp will be auctioned off at Christie’s in New York on December 19.  Click here for a picture and the details.

The background information about the house, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Bock, and Susan on Christie’s web site is unusually accurate, but once again the adjectives selected to characterize Susan are inadequate and misleading.  The author describes her as a “young, wealthy and deeply independent widow.”  Just once I would like to see words such as philanthropic or progressive in a written description of Susan. 

Several years ago I saw the lamp that is for sale when we were visiting the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum on the campus of Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois (a tour I highly recommend).  It was lying on a table covered with dust, and the young student who was in charge that day knew nothing about its history.  Richard Bock’s daughter Dorathi Bock Pierre explained how the lamp arrived at the small Illinois college in the Epilogue of the 1989 edition of Bock’s autobiography:

Through the interest of Dr. Donald P. Hallmark [first site superintendent of the Dana-Thomas House],who wrote his Masters and Doctor’s theses on the works of Richard W. Bock, [my father’s]  collection was brought to the attention of the administration of Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois. They offered a permanent home to the entire collection of hundreds of items of sculpture, drawings, paintings and father’s art library.  The collection fills an historic Victorian house on the campus, named the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum, which was dedicated in 1975.

I have no evidence, but I am presuming that Greenville College, like many other institutions of higher learning, is experiencing some  financial crunches, and the current administration is tapping into its resources to alleviate some of that strain.  This is the second time that I know of that the lamp has been up for auction.  I hope that this time it can find a good home with someone who understands the significance of this very important connection among the Dana-Thomas House, Richard Bock, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

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