After more than one and a half years on the market with an asking price that was initially closely guarded and later revealed to be $11.5 million, Viennese architect Richard Neutra’s iconic Lovell Health House, in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood, has been sold for $8.75 million.
It was revealed in a recent article in The New Yorker that Swiss “art-world potentates” Iwan and Manuela Wirth are the new owners of the slightly shabby house and have “plans to bring back its original lustre.” The Wirths are globe-trotting art-world heavy hitters who co-founded Galerie Hauser & Wirth along with Manuela’s mother, Ursula Hauser — the Hausers are heirs to a retail fortune, in Zurich in 1992. They’ve since branched out to acquiring interesting and historic properties around the world that they convert to art galleries and art centers. The powerhouse international gallery, which represents the work of a laundry list of living and dead artists who include Cindy Sherman, Nicole Eisenman, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, and Mike Kelly, now has high-profile outposts and campuses in, among other places, Somerset, England, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, and Spain’s Balearic Islands.
One of the earliest and most important examples of the International Style of architecture, the rigorously geometric hillside home was commissioned by prominent naturopathic doctor Philip Lovell and built in 1929 on a half-acre lot just east of the Griffith Observatory.
The house was designed and built with its bohemian health and fitness guru occupant in mind; The house includes outdoor sleeping areas, a kitchen specifically designed for a vegetarian diet, an outdoor gym, and secluded nooks for nude sunbathing. There are built-in sofas and shelving throughout the house, along with a couple of flagstone fireplaces and ribbons of windows that provide sweeping city and mountain views. Neutra’s assistant, Gregory Ain, found and installed a pair of Ford Model-A headlights in the main stairwell.
With five bedrooms and four bathrooms in just over 4,800 square feet, the three-story house was purchased in 1961 by Morton and Betty Topper and designated a cultural monument in 1974. Both Toppers have passed but the house has remained in the family and was most recently occupied by the Topper’s son, Ken Topper.
The property was listed with Crosby Doe and Ilana Gafni of Crosby Doe Associates. Crosby also represented the Wirths in the transaction.