Date/place of birth:
9 April 1910
Date/place of death:
31 July 1989
Relationship to the
Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. had a privileged childhood
in Pittsburgh where his father owned Kaufmann's department store. He
studied painting in New York, London, Vienna and Florence. On his return
to the United States he was an apprentice at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin
from 1933-34. It was on a visit to his son that Kaufmann's father commissioned
Wright to design his Bear Run home Fallingwater. Kaufmann worked for a
time in his father's store in Pittsburgh.
In April 1941 Kaufmann
visited Black Mountain on a trip south to Mexico. At the time the Studies
Building was under construction, and it was attracting a great deal of
attention. The previous year Kaufmann had joined the staff of the Museum
of Modern Art to organize the Organic Design in Home Furnishings
Competition which he had proposed to Alfred Barr. Kaufmann was appointed
director of the Department of Industrial Design at the museum.
In the summer of 1948
Kaufmann returned to Black Mountain for about a week to deliver a series
of lectures on design. The visit was the catalyst for a one-person
exhibition Anni Albers: Textiles at the Museum of Modern Art in
After his father's death
Kaufmann inherited Fallingwater. He devoted himself to its preservation.
In addition he was Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Art History at
Columbia University and author of books on architecture and modern design.