Ann Mitchell’s extraordinary and poetic portraits of the Val Verde estate as it was transformed into Austin Val Verde evoke the history and artistic achievements of this famous Southern California architectural monument and gardens. These are achievements that began with Bertram Goodhue’s innovative design for the house and initial landscaping, continued with Wright Ludington and Lockwood de Forest’s transformation of the estate into an Italian villa, and culminated as Dr. and Mrs. Warren R. Austin blended their own personalities into Val Verde.
Mitchell’s work at Austin Val Verde was a labor of love. She made more than twenty visits to the estate, capturing the grounds and interior spaces at different times of the year and hours of the day in ways that no photographer had ever done before. The results are the extraordinary collection of more than 80 images contained in this book.
The Austin Val Verde Foundation is one of the few preserved great early 20th Century Southern California estates. It is a pivotal work in the career of the famous 20th century American architect Bertram Goodhue. Its celebrated and extensive gardens are the masterpiece of Lockwood de Forest, Jr., one of the most important landscape architects in Southern California during the last one hundred years. For three decades, Austin Val Verde housed one of the finest private collections of Greek and Roman sculpture, and for many years a number of celebrities from the worlds of film, stage, music, literature, and art visited or stayed at the estate. The purpose of the Foundation is preservation, maintenance, and display of Austin Val Verde, a unique botanical, architectural and artistic estate, for education, scientific, charitable and historic purposes in perpetuity. The Foundation especially aims to benefit children and students by promoting venues and cultural exchanges for local, national and international communities.