Five clerestory windows hailing from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse in Riverside, Illinois, are now on the auction block. Part of the Important Design auction coming up on May 24 at Sotheby’s in New York, the windows are from the collection of Thomas S. Monaghan. The entrepreneur, philanthropist and Domino’s Pizza founder is credited with one of the top private collections of Wright’s designs in the 20th century.
“Architecture is the oldest and greatest of all the fine arts, and Frank Lloyd Wright is the greatest practitioner of that art,” says Monaghan. “I have been a champion of his work for my entire life and long believed that it was only a matter of time before his fame would grow and his artifacts would be valuable. His significance in the canon of great 20th-century artists, particularly as an American, cannot be overstated, and it is a joy for me to share my passion for his work with collectors worldwide this spring.”
The five pieces on display in the collection include two adjacent windows, which, as the auction house states, is “a highly prized trait among collectors.” Wright’s windows made headlines in December when Sotheby’s established a new world auction record last December with his two “Sumac” windows from the Susan Lawrence Dana House in Springfield, Illinois, for $435,000.
“It is a privilege to offer this exceptional group of stained-glass windows from the Avery Coonley Playhouse—one of the most important commissions of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career,” explains Jodi Pollack, co-worldwide head of the Sotheby’s 20th Century Design department. “We are thrilled to bring this superlative and iconic group to the market in the wake of our record-breaking sale of Wright’s recently rediscovered windows from the Susan Lawrence Dana House last December. It is unprecedented for collectors to be presented with such a large body of material from the Coonley Playhouse, and the offering is even further elevated by the distinguished provenance from the collection of Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan.’’