Edgar J. Kaufmann

Edgar J. Kaufmann

Edgar J. Kaufmann (1885–1955) was a prominent US businessman and philanthropist who owned Kaufmann's, the best-known department store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the twentieth century. When Albert Einstein visited Pittsburgh in 1934, Mr. Kaufmann was one of the city's leading citizens who met with him. Mr. Kaufmann employed architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a weekend home; the result was Fallingwater, near Mill Run (about 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh). Being the original owner of Fallingwater has generated more widespread interest in Mr. Kaufmann than any other of his endeavors and accomplishments. A special relationship developed between the famed architect and Kaufmann. [ [http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmag/bk_issue/1999/marapr/feat1.htm "Merchant Prince and Master Builder"] by Richard L. Cleary, 1999] He also commissioned Richard Neutra to build another landmark house for him: Kaufmann Desert House, completed in 1946.

In Pittsburgh, Mr. Kaufmann generously financed the Light Opera Company, and donated US$1.5 million for the erection of the Civic Auditorium. Improving the infrastructure of the city was one of his concerns. The bulk of his estate was left to his charitable fund, which concentrated its efforts towards improving the lives of the residents of Pittsburgh. His son Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. inherited Fallingwater.

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