Edgar J. Kaufmann

Edgar J. Kaufmann

Edgar J. Kaufmann

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Edgar J. Kaufmann (November 1, 1885–April 15, 1955) was a prominent Jewish German-American businessman and philanthropist. He owned and directed Kaufmann's Department Store, the most prominent one in 20th century Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. Edgar Kaufmann was the owner of two architectural masterpieces; the eastern mountain 'Fallingwater' and western desert 'Kaufmann House.'

In Pittsburgh, Edgar Kaufmann generously financed the Light Opera Company, and donated US$1.5 million for the erection of the Civic Auditorium. Improving the infrastructure of the city was one of his concerns; another was art patronage. In 1926 Kaufmann commissioned American artist Boardman Robinson to create a series of nine murals for his flagship department store in Pittsburgh on the history of trade, completed with automobile paint. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed his executive offices on the top floor, now installed an American museum. Edgar Kaufmann was one of the 'city's leading citizens' who welcomed Albert Einstein when he visited Pittsburgh in 1934. Einstein was later a house guest at their mountain retreat 'Fallingwater.'

Architect Benno Janssen designed several structures for Kaufmann including his Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania residence (1924-25) known as La Tourelle. The Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce in 1930 awarded an 'Excellence in Design' for the facades. Additionally Janssen designed Kaufmann's Department Store in Pittsburgh.

Landmark residences

Edgar J. Kaufmann and...
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