Though John Baldessari passed away in early 2020 at age 88, the conceptual artist’s pioneering legacy lives on at the Los Angeles home he occupied for three decades, not to mention in a fun and informative film about his life and work narrated by silver-tongued musician Tom Waits. Significantly updated during Baldessari’s tenure — with more space, light and “creatively exciting” living space — the Craftsman bungalow is now on the market in the coastal Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, asking $3.9 million.
Often called the “Godfather of Conceptual Art,” Baldessari was most known for using found photography and appropriated images in his works. And his art was never boring, whether he was placing colorful dots over folks’ faces in photographs, or cremating his paintings and storing the ashes in a bronze urn emulating the shape of a book. Internationally recognized, the California-born artist operated a Main Street studio in Santa Monica alongside creative peers Richard Diebenkorn and James Turrell, and he was presented with the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama in 2015 for his contribution as a visual artist.
Known as “John Baldessari House #1” — because the artist also owned a Frank Gehry-designed vacation home in Venice — the Santa Monica property was originally built in 1903 and purchased by Baldessari for a mere $660,000 way back in 1990. He subsequently enlisted architects Ron Godfredsen and Danna Sigal to give the structure a contemporary overhaul in keeping with its Craftsman lineage, which included new white lap siding and olive-green trim on the exterior of the residence, along with a seamless rear addition influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s works. San Diego-based designer Roy McMakin also was hired to create custom furniture, some of which may be available for purchase per the listing.
The result of those efforts encompasses three bedrooms and two bathrooms spread across nearly 2,800 square feet of open living space punctuated throughout by wood-framed windows and doors, and abundant windows and skylights. As for the addition, it hosts an eat-in kitchen outfitted with sleek wood cabinetry, stainless appliances, a butcher block-topped island, and blue-tiled backsplash and countertops. There’s also a wood-paneled library upstairs boasting built-in book shelves and clerestory windows offering up picturesque treetop views.
Other highlights include a sun-drenched living room spotlighted by a large wood-burning fireplace and doors that open to a patio abutted by a grassy lawn, plus a couple of brightly hued bathrooms — one with aqua tiles and the other sporting an orangish shade of tile, and each equipped with unique steel fixtures. A primary bedroom has walls of windows and a vaulted ceiling supported by steel cables; and outdoors, the terraced park-like grounds include a mulch-covered al fresco dining area shaded by olive trees.
Julia Hodges of Crosby Doe Associates holds the listing.