Collection Highlights

The Kaufmanns drew from their own interests in fine and decorative arts at Fallingwater, placing sculpture, paintings, textiles and furniture throughout the house. Whether acquired from the artists and designers themselves or purchased in galleries and antique shops in the U.S. and abroad, the Fallingwater collection represents a mix of cultures, media and the individual tastes of each member of the Kaufmann family.

Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)
Mother and Child, 1941

One of the foremost sculptors of the twentieth century, Jacques Lipchitz began making sketches of Mother and Child two years before executing it upon arriving in New York City. The organic forms and lines of the piece lent an expressiveness that differed from his earlier Cubist works. At Fallingwater, Mother and Child once faced the house at Frank Lloyd Wright’s suggestion, set upon the masonry wall that formed the plunge pool in Bear Run. Rushing floodwaters tipped the piece into the water in 1956, where it was later recovered, repaired by Lipchitz, and repositioned by the Kaufmanns to face toward nature.

Mardonio Magaña (1866-1947)
Untitled (Family), ca. 1935

Mexican sculptor Mardonio Magaña captured scenes of day-to-day life in his artwork, and the family grouping placed upon the wall of Edgar Kaufmann Sr.’s terrace in one of the four works by the artist in the Fallingwater collection. Carved of limestone, this untitled piece, completed around 1935, embodied the folk life of Mexico, a particular collecting interest of the Kaufmanns. Magaña was among a circle of artists that included Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, who in 1930 proclaimed Magaña “the greatest contemporary Mexican sculptor” during the opening of his first solo exhibition.

Bodhisattva, 906-1127
(Sung Dynasty)


Located on the west terrace, off Fallingwater’s living room, the Chinese bodhisattva, or head of Buddha, was cast in iron during the Sung Dynasty sometime between the years 906 and 1127. Acquired by the Kaufmann family in 1951, it has been placed in various locations within Fallingwater, yet always displayed upon a tall wooden base. The hair is pulled back to the top of the head, and features stylized elongated earlobes, lips, and nose. It was installed in Fallingwater in 1953.

Peter Voulkos (1924-2002)
Funiculated Smog, 1955

Bay Area sculptor Peter Voulkos composed Funiculated Smog of numerous wheel-thrown clay forms shaped and stacked around a central core. Though the material and technique are like those used in traditional ceramic work, Voulkos’ form has more in common with contemporary painting and sculpture in other media. In 1978, the sculpture was damaged in a fall and was repaired by the artist, and when returned to Fallingwater, Edgar Kaufmann jr. placed it by the guest house pool.

Madonna and Child, ca. 1420

Purchased by Edgar Kaufmann Sr. in Vienna, and installed at Fallingwater as early as 1938, the medieval Austrian-Bohemian Madonna and Child sculpture dates to around the year 1420 and was among Liliane Kaufmann’s most treasured possessions. Installed over the master bedroom fireplace and set within a custom niche designed for it by Frank Lloyd Wright, the polychrome wood figures were also among the many religious art objects, representing a variety of spiritual beliefs, displayed throughout Fallingwater.

Richmond Barthé (1901-1989)
Serena, 1940

Rose McClendon (1884-1936) was among the leading African American actresses on Broadway in the 1920s, known for the 1927 play Porgy that would inspire the musical Porgy and Bess eight years later. Captured in a contemplative, almost prayer-like pose by Harlem Renaissance sculptor Richmond Barthé, Serena was named for the role McClendon played in Porgy and exemplified Barthé as an artist approaching art-making as a spiritual endeavor.

Parvati, ca. 750

Mother goddess in Hinduism, the benevolent Parvati represents fertility, love and devotion, and divine strength and power. The central Indian relic, purchased by Edgar Kaufmann jr. in 1970, is located in the enclosed bridge connecting Fallingwater to the covered canopy stair. Thought to be of the eighth century, completed circa 750, Parvati is adorned with a traditional collar piece and headdress of stylized lotus flowers joined with chains of jewels that complement her earrings and wide bejeweled necklace.

Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)
The Harpist, 1930

The Lithuanian-born Jacques Lipchitz completed The Harpist during an artistic period in which  he was transitioning away from Cubism into forms that were more allegorical. The bronze work, which combined stylized details of a bird with those of a harp, took pride of place in the corner window of Edgar Kaufmann jr.’s sleeping alcove on Fallingwater’s third floor. Removed from the house in 1963, following its donation to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, The Harpist returned to Fallingwater as a gift from Kaufmann’s partner, Paul Mayén, in 1991.

Paul Mayén (1918-2000)
Untitled (Red Cube)
Mid-twentieth century


Architect and industrial designer Paul Mayén left his mark on Fallingwater in many ways, most notably as the designer of the site’s visitor center constructed between 1979-1980. As a designer of lighting, furniture, and interiors, his palette was often in muted neutrals with bold colorful accents, using naturalistic materials combined with steel and glass. Mayén’s artistic endeavors, such as the untitled wood sculpture set upon Fallingwater’s living room coffee table, were rooted in geometry and composed of block-like brightly colored pieces.

Jean Arp (1887-1966)
Mediterraneé II, 1942

Jean Arp was a French abstract sculptor and painter and among the founding members of the Swiss Dada movement in art. Described as a “one-man laboratory for the discovery of new forms,” sculptures such as Mediterraneé II were part of a series of organic, lyrical works distinctive in their smoothness. Purchased by Edgar Kaufmann jr. in 1951, the polished white Carrera marble of Mediterraneé II invoked nature in its purest form.

Joseph Goto (1916-1994)
Landscape I, 1956

Described as a “landscape in the air,” the horizontal bronze Landscape I by Hawaiian-born Joseph Goto is among the more abstract sculptures at Fallingwater. Weighted pieces of wrapped and twisted steel rods cantilever from a central cylinder in two directions, and the work is displayed on the third floor terrace off Edgar Kaufmann jr.’s sleeping alcove. Goto learned to weld while serving in the United States Army during World War II and his sculptures ranged in size from tabletop pieces to large-scale outdoor works.

Bruno Mathsson (1907-1988)
Easy Chair No. 1, 1934
Maple, hemp

The curved laminated maple wood lounge chair by Swedish designed Bruno Mathsson is displayed in Edgar Kaufmann jr.’s study and provides the perfect angle for relaxing with a good book. The 1934 design was produced with hemp webbing that provided gentle support and allowed air to circulate through it in the warmer months. A swiveling wood reading stand, originally attached by a steel pole to the chair, was removed by Kaufmann and attached to the wall next to his bed.

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905-1976)
Armchair, ca. 1940s-1950s
Walnut, woolen upholstery

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings, one of the most influential furniture designers of the 1940s and 1950s, designed the upholstered armchairs found in Fallingwater’s great room and the Guest House’s sitting area. Covered in a woolen fabric by designer Jack Lenor Larsen (born 1927), they provided a comfortable reading place, and though originally featured five buttons on its back cushion, each chair had one removed by Edgar Kaufmann jr. so the remaining four would reflect the four corners of the living room’s central square space.

Farm Chair, Late nineteenth
or early twentieth-century

Typical of those found in the homes of Italian farmers, Fallingwater’s dining table showcases the Kaufmann’ set of hand-carved nineteenth century Tuscan peasant chairs. The tripod design, simply constructed and ideal for balancing upon an uneven stone floor, also featured elaborately carved backs, each one unique. Liliane Kaufmann purchased them in the 1930s in Florence, and the family preferred them to Frank Lloyd Wright’s proposed barrel chair design.

Van Keppel-Green, mfr.
Armchair, ca. 1950s
Steel, wood

California industrial designers Hendrik Van Keppel (born 1914) and Taylor Green (born 1914), working as Van Keppel-Green, designed the mid-century steel and redwood chairs found on Fallingwater’s east terrace. The frames, painted Cherokee Red by Edgar Kaufmann jr., referred to the color of the nearby steel window and door sash, while their wood slate seats, backs, and arms aged naturally in the woodland setting.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
Barrel Chair, 1937
Walnut, woolen upholstery

Originally proposed as the dining chair for Fallingwater, the 1936 Frank Lloyd Wright designed barrel chair was of the same black walnut as the house’s built-in furnishings. Its curved back celebrates the beauty of its material, and the thin slats its delicacy. An adaptation of the design appeared in other Wright houses, but the Kaufmanns felt it too refined for a weekend retreat. Instead, the prototype chair was used as a side chair, and is presently seen in the Guest House bedroom.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
Zabuton, 1937
Walnut, woolen upholstery

Among the moveable furniture Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Fallingwater are the seven “zabutons,” or Japanese style floor cushions placed throughout the living room and in the guest house sitting area. Dating to 1937, the year the Kaufmanns occupied Fallingwater, upholstered with textiles by Jack Lenor Larsen they are a solid piece of form rubber framed with a thin band of black walnut, which also provided an easy method for lifting them.

László Gábor (1895-1938)
Slipper Chair, early

Wood and woolen fabric

The master bedroom’s plush, low, slipper chair was designed by Hungarian-born artist László Gábor, who helped modernize Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh. A member of the Austrian Werkbund, where he was primarily known as a painter, Gábor immigrated to the United States in 1935 where he taught at Carnegie Institute of Technology the last two years of his life. The chair’s teak frame and curvilinear design also fit into Frank Lloyd Wright organic aesthetic.

Windsor Chair, late 17th or
early 18th century


The three-legged pine English Windsor style vernacular chair, dating to the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, was placed at the desk of Fallingwater’s master bedroom where it provided a rustic counterpart to Frank Lloyd Wright’s cantilevered black walnut furnishings. The three legs gave it stability on the uneven stone floors, and its position provided a view to the west through the room’s dramatic corner window.

Finn Juhl (1912-1989)
“45” Chair, 1945

The “45 Chair,” named for the year of its design, by Danish architect and designer Finn Juhl is a refined type of easy chair that appealed to Edgar Kaufmann jr. and embodied the Danish modern style of the period. The chair’s seat seemingly floats, but is attached by two wood cross bards to the front legs. Kaufmann was one of Juhl’s strongest exponents and he included the Dane in the 1950 publication What is Modern Design? For the Museum of Modern Art.

Antonio Bonet (1913-1989),
Juan Kurchan (1913-1975),
Jorge Ferrari Hardoy (1914-1977)

BKF Chair, 1938
Steel, leather

The first “B.F.K.” chair, produced in 1938 by Argentine designers Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan, and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy arrived at Fallingwater with a leather cover, and is now displayed in Edgar Kaufmann Sr.’s study. Canvas versions of the “butterfly” chairs soon appeared, and were peppered about the terraces of Fallingwater by Kaufmann, who appreciated the sculptural simplicity of suspended seating within a thin steel frame.

Arrow-back Farm Chair,
20th century


Placed around the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed kitchen table, the set of arrow back plank bottom farm chairs speak to the Kaufmanns’ interest in folk art and regionalism. The arrow-shaped slats that extend from the back to the seat give the chair its name, while the turned wood legs and solid wood seat also reflect the handcrafted nature of their production.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“MR 10” Chair, 1931
Steel and woven cane

The “MR 10” side chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was produced by the Bamberg Metallwerkstätten in 1931. A cantilevered tubular steel framework with woven cane seat and back, the curving arc of the frame also gave the chair a light spring, while at its back, the tubing made for a handle to aid in moving the piece from room to room. The MR 10’s original chrome finish was painted Cherokee Red by Edgar Kaufmann jr., a color favored by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Corrado Cagli­ (1910-1976)
Untitled (Musical Instruments), 1948
Oil on Canvas

The Cubist painting of musical instruments on display over the desk of Edgar Kaufmann, Sr. by Italian artist Corrado Cagli was purchased in 1948 by Edgar Kaufmann, jr. directly from the artist. Known for his interest in historic Italian mural art during the early 1930s, Cagli began showing his own paintings in Paris as part of a Roman School of artists. In 1939, Cagli immigrated to New York City where he exhibited at the Julien Levy Gallery, a place favored by the Kaufmanns for their art collection.

Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)
Church on the Cliffs VII, 1953
Watercolor and ink on paper

The son of musicians, Lyonel Feininger left his New York City home to study music in Germany in 1887, but soon after shifted his interest toward drawing and painting. He exhibited with the famed “Blue Rider” group in Munich and in 1919 joined the faculty of the Bauhaus where he taught during the school’s Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin days. Feininger often chose seascapes as a subject of his paintings, and his interest in light and the recession of planes gave them an eternal quality.

Donald Stuart Leslie Friend (1915-1989)
Fruit Barrow, 1945
Watercolor and ink on paper

Edgar Kaufmann, jr. met Australian artist and diarist Donald Friend while on leave from his three-year military duty in New Guinea. Friend, influenced by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin, produced paintings and drawings throughout his military service, and the Ministry of the Interior appointed him an official war artist in February 1945. Typical of his style, Fruit Barrow has a decorative, flowing quality with a somewhat humorous vein. The piece is now displayed in the servant quarters.

Sideo Fromboluti

August, Late 1950s
Oil on Canvas

Sideo Fromboluti was born to Italian immigrants in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and raised during the Great Depression. The abstract oil on canvas, August, displayed over the desk in the guest house bedroom, is a typical example of Fromboluti’s heavy impasto painting technique and palette of dark, low-key colors. Fromboluti and his wife, the artist Nora Speyer, a family friend of the Kaufmanns, lived and worked in New York City and the artists’ enclave of Woodstock. Edgar Kaufmann, jr. acquired August from the artist during an exhibition in the late 1950s.

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Tarn, 1860
Oil on coated paper

Grimshaw's earliest paintings, which date to the 1860s, are primarily landscapes and still-lifes inspired by the countryside surrounding his home of Leeds, England. It seems likely that Tarn is one such landscape, illustrating a mountain pool. With no formal art training, Grimshaw was nonetheless inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite school of painters, and his work often featured mysterious, misty landscapes of vivid realism and a palette of accurate colors. Tarn was among a number of paintings that Edgar Kaufmann, jr. exchanged at Fallingwater in June 1977.

Victor Karl Hammer (1882-1967)
Excursion, ca. 1929
Egg tempera and oil on board

Liliane Kaufmann commissioned Austrian born artist Victor Hammer to paint a portrait of her husband in 1929. The tempera and oil work typifies Edgar Kaufmann not as an executive in suit and tie, but rather a man in casual dress, walking stick in hand as if returning from a hike. The painting predates Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural plans by a decade, yet Excursion has come to symbolize the Kaufmann family's characterization of Fallingwater as a place to escape from the hurried pace of one's workaday life.

William Huggins (1820-1884)
Untitled (Four Feline Heads), 1839
Oil on wood panel

Though he painted religious and literary subjects throughout his career, British artist William Huggins was both more devoted to and successful at representing animals and animal life. Huggins probably painted painted these four feline heads—Leopard, Lynx, Tiger, and Lion—after studying the animals at the zoological gardens in Liverpool, England. The glistening eyes and sheen of the cats’ fur, achieved by Huggin's use of transparent pigment, contributes to his sentimental portrayal of the cats.

Carlos Mérida (1891-1985)
Untitled, 1943
Gouache and pencil on paper

Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Carlos Mérida studied piano before deciding to pursue painting, moving to Paris and absorbing the European avant-garde work of artists like Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani. In 1919, Mérida adopted Mexico as his home country and continued with folkloric themes up until about 1925, when he shifted toward a nonrepresentational mode. Painted in 1943, the untitled abstract composition of biomorphic forms surrounded by areas of blue, green, gray, red, and pink displayed in Fallingwater’s master bath exhibits a lyrical style that represents Mérida’s enduring love of music.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Le Peintre et son Modèle
(The Artist and His Model)
, 1963

Aquatint and drypoint on paper

Long viewed as the personification of genius in modern art, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso produced a vast body of work in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Le Peintre et son Modèle, displayed in Fallingwater’s guest house, was one of many in a series from 1963, when Picasso completed dozens of oil paintings prints of the same theme. This variation on paper is of three figures, two female models and a male artist at his easel.

Wilfred Easton Pribble (1917-2003)
Counterpoint, 1952
Oil on Masonite

Edgar Kaufmann jr. was introduced to Easton Pribble around 1947, when Kaufmann was working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Kaufmann purchased Counterpoint directly from the artist in 1953, during a five-year period in which Pribble was working in a non-figurative mode. After earlier experimenting in an Impressionist landscape style, he arrived at what might properly be called his mature style—architectural subjects in which strict lines demarcated rectangular areas of bright color.

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
El Sueño (The Dream), 1936
Gouache on linen, mounted
on Masonite


Considered to be the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera is most celebrated as a muralist and fresco painter, his large scale works greatly impacting the awareness of public art. His composition of a girl sleeping on a terra cotta tile floor, El Sueño was purchased by the Kaufmanns in 1940 and a subject Rivera painted at least twice. The painting, now on display in the bridge connecting the main house to the guest house, was installed at Fallingwater in 1954.

Unknown Artist
Unknown (Madonna and Child), 18th century
Tempera on canvas

The Madonna and Child portrait displayed at the top of Fallingwater’s second floor landing was part of an exhibition, Below the Rio Grande, held at Kaufmann’s Department Store in 1941. The Madonna, adorned in heavy flowered robes and wearing a tri-corner hat, holds a scapular while the Child figure grasps a staff. Above them, two angels hold a moon and sun on rods, symbolizing the feminine and masculine figures respectively.

José María Velasco Gómez

Mexican Landscape: Jalapa, Mexico, 1877
Oil on canvas

Born in Tematzalcingo, Mexico, to a family of weavers, Velasco rejected the family craft and took up painting. He entered the Academia de San Carlos in 1858, where he studied pastoral landscape painting in the manner of Claude Lorraine, the seventeenth-century French artist. Purchased by the Kaufmanns in 1937, the semitropical vista of a Mexican landscape was displayed in Kaufmann’s Department Store as part of their Below the Rio Grande exhibition, then in the family’s Pittsburgh home until it was moved to Fallingwater’s guest house bedroom in 1960.

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
Portrait of a Man, ca. 1930s
Conté crayon on rice paper

The portrait of a man with yellow straw hat and moustache previously hung on the wall of Edgar Kaufmann’s Frank Lloyd Wright designed office on the tenth floor of Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh. Now displayed in Fallingwater’s guest bedroom, it is one of two works in the collection by Diego Rivera, a favored artist of the Kaufmann family and one who visited Fallingwater as a guest.

John James Audubon

Boat-tailed Grackle, 1834
Aquatint on paper

An elegant bird found mostly in the southern United States, the boat-tailed grackle was illustrated perched upon branches of a live oak as Plate 187 in John James Audubon’s Birds of America series. A collection of 435 life-sized watercolors of North American birds, Audubon’s work has come to exemplify the field of wildlife illustration. The Kaufmanns displayed framed Audubon prints in the Hangover, their cabin located on the Bear Run property in the years prior to Fallingwater’s construction.

Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Changing Porters and Horses
at Fujieda
, 1834

Woodblock print on rice paper

Ando Hiroshige’s nearly 8,000 views of Japan, especially landscapes, birds, flowers, and scenes of daily life, placed him among the great artists of the nineteenth century. Frank Lloyd Wright, whose drawing style and design sensibility was influenced by Japanese art and architecture since his first exposure to it in his twenties, became a noted collector of woodblock prints. He presented a selection of Hiroshige scenes to the Kaufmanns in December 1935, dedicating them with a personal message.

Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Night Snow at Kambara, 1834
Woodblock print on rice paper

One of a selection of woodblock prints by Ando Hiroshige presented to the Kaufmanns by Frank Lloyd Wright in December 1935, the wintery night scene of travelers walking through new fallen snow is typical of the artist who captured scenes of everyday life in Japan. Snow falls throughout the picture, covering the mountaintop in the background and settling upon trees and the rooftops of the village houses at front. The print, on view in Edgar Kaufmann’s dressing room, was dedicated and signed by Wright as a gift to his clients.


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