Works from the Estate of Sue Kohler

Sue Kohler lived a life devoted to art, architecture and design. Born in Grand Rapids, educated at the University of Michigan with advanced degrees in art history, Sue met her husband, the architect Carl R. Kohler, at Cranbrook where she had landed her first curatorial position at the Museum of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. They married in 1953, traveled extensively for his position at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and eventually settled in Washington, DC in 1959. 

Raising three children, Lisa, Peter and Eric, in their Georgetown row house, the Kohlers amassed an eclectic collection of midcentury modern furniture, architectural fragments and antiques. In 1974, Sue began a 35-year career as Chief Historian for the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, ultimately retiring at the age of 80. During her tenure at the Commission, she co-authored many books on Washington DC architecture and planning, including Designing The Nation’s Capital: The 1901 Plan for Washington, DC.

The present lot is drawn from the Estate of Sue Kohler, and reflects her lifelong passion for studying and collecting American design.

Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan

During their partnership, Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan created some of the ground breaking and influential buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Adler specialized in the engineering side of the business, which allowed Sullivan to work primarily as the designer on their projects. Together they completed many notable structures including the famous Wainwright Building (St. Louis, 1891), the Schiller Building (Chicago, 1891) and the James Charnley House (Chicago, 1891–1892). However, it was the Chicago Stock Exchange, built at the height of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, that was undoubtedly the magnum opus of their career. The interior of the building was decorated with lavish organic designs inspired by the flora and fauna of the prairie landscape exemplary of their uniquely Midwestern style of Art Nouveau. Although the partnership ended in 1895, Adler and Sullivan forever changed the architectural landscape of Chicago with more than 180 buildings designed during the 15 years they worked together.

Auction Results Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan