East Hollywood - Some of the original art glass that was removed more than seven decades ago from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House is in the process of being returned to the historic landmark from Boston art collectors.
The UNESCO World Heritage site at the top of Barnsdall Park is primed to get back four art glass panels that used to be part of a skylight above the living room fireplace, according to a motion by City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.
Four of the living room's nine laylight panels were removed during a renovation in the 1940s and replaced with opaque glass panels by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright. It's not known what ever happened to the laylights, which help defuse and spread daylight.
But now, two Boston area collectors and museum patrons who possess of the panels have offered to contribute them back to the house in exchange for reproductions that were commissioned in 2017 to restore the laylights to their 1921 appearance.
As for the value of the vintage panels, Ed Avila, president of Project Restore, which has been overseeing the restoration, said, "They are original to the house and that is priceless."
O’Farrell’s motion calls for the City Council to authorize the Department of Cultural Affairs to work out the exchange of the reproductions for the originals now held by Marc S. Plonskier and Heni Koenigsberg. The couple are patrons of several Boston area museums and art institutions.
"The return of the four original art glass panels is critical to strengthening the authenticity of this UNESCO World Heritage site and represents a rare opportunity to improve the integrity of the site with original architectural furnishings," says the motion. "The original panels will be installed in their original laylight location and will remain the property of Hollyhock House."
It's not clear how it was determined that the panels came from the Hollyhock house, but the Plonskiers have had the panels since the early 1990s, Avila said.
"We believe they were acquired at auction, Christies," he said.
The documentation confirming the origin will be provided along with the gifted panels, Avila said. Details such as how the cost of shipping will be paid are yet to be finalized, Avila said.
Tony Arranaga, a spokesperson for O’Farrell, said the Councilmember’s office will have more information and a formal announcement in the coming weeks.