Barnsdall Art Center
Barnsdall Art Center
Barnsdall Art Center
Barnsdall Art Center
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About Hollyhock House

HOLLYHOCK HOUSE was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles commission and an ode to California – its freedom and natural beauty. Built between 1919 and 1921 for Aline Barnsdall, the house introduced young architects Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra to Los Angeles. It is a harbinger of California Modernism, which came to include celebrated homes by all three visionaries that continue to impact the direction of residential design.

ALINE BARNSDALL (1882–1946), an oil heiress, commissioned the house as the centerpiece of a cultural arts complex on Olive Hill, which was to include a major theater, cinema, artist residences, and commercial shops. For Hollyhock House—her personal residence, Barnsdall asked Wright to incorporate her favorite flower, the hollyhock, into the home’s design.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (1867–1959), one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, was already famous by 1915 when Barnsdall approached him to build a theater for her experimental stage productions. The project provided Wright with an escape from the Chicago area and the personal scandals and tragedies that had befallen him there. He established an office in Los Angeles and divided his time between California and Japan, where he was building the Imperial Hotel.

The architect and client only partially realized Barnsdall’s visionary plan for a thriving art park in East Hollywood, which was then little more than a patchwork of citrus farms and the nascent film industry. Wright built just Hollyhock House and two guest houses. However, under city ownership, the park has grown into a vibrant arts center with a gallery, theater, and year-round art classes.

Aline Barnsdall with her daughter, Betty, at Hollyhock House

LEFT: Aline Barnsdall with her daughter, Betty, at Hollyhock House, c. 1923. Courtesy of David Devine and Michael Devine. RIGHT: Frank Lloyd Wright touring a visitor at Hollyhock House, c. 1950.