Laurent House featured in Landmark Ornament Collection

Hand-painted images of the Laurent House on the Landmark ornaments are based on two paintings of the house by Rockford artist Jeanne Ludeke — one featuring the front of the house in summer (left) and the other a rear view in a winter setting (right). (Photo provided)

Staff Report

The only building in Rockford designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Laurent House, is the featured ornament in the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection for the 2012 holiday season at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., Rockford.

The elegant Usonian home on Spring Brook Road is represented on two different ornaments, one featuring the front of the house in summer and the other a rear view in a winter setting.

The hand-painted images on the ornaments are based on two paintings of the house by Rockford artist Jeanne Ludeke. According to Doc Slafkosky, co-owner of J.R. Kortman, the two Laurent House ornaments are sold separately for $25.

You can purchase the set of both the summer and winter scenes of the house for $45,” Slafkosky said.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Laurent ornaments benefit the Laurent House Foundation.

The Laurent House, a world-class architectural treasure, is the latest Rockford property to be designated a National Landmark. Kenneth Laurent, a paraplegic from a World War II injury, commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design the house for him and his wife, Phyllis, in 1949. It is the only Wright building designed specifically to be fully handicapped accessible.

For 15 years, J.R. Kortman Center for Design has been featuring hand-painted ornaments depicting Rockford landmarks. To celebrate this milestone year, the Kortman Gallery (on the second level) is presenting a group holiday exhibition titled “Landmarks,” which opened Nov. 23. Twenty-four of some of Rockford’s most accomplished artists showcase works inspired by landmarks featured in the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection.

Besides the Laurent House, the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection includes a special edition of Memorial Hall, the Woodward Governor building and the North Main Street Armory. Other ornaments available in the Landmark Collection include “Guardians of the Rock” sculpture by Theresa Agnew, the Beattie Park Gazebo, Sinnissippi Lagoon, the Rockford News Tower, the Faust Landmark Building, Coronado and Midway theater buildings, and the Coronado stage, Sinnissippi Bur Oak tree, Old City Hall and “Symbol” sculpture, the best-selling ornament in the collection.

Other top sellers include four ornaments depicting different scenes of the beautiful Nicholas Conservatory and Anderson Japanese Gardens,” Slafkosky said.

In addition to the Swedish Historical Society’s “Erlander Home,” other historic houses in the collection include the “Limestone Mansion,” home to the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and the “Cobblestone House,” at 2127 Broadway, one of Rockford’s oldest houses.

All the Landmark ornament images are individually hand-painted on the inside of a glass sphere, utilizing an ancient Chinese technique originally applied to “snuff” bottles. Each collectible ornament is a miniature work of art. All ornaments, with the exception of the Laurent House, are priced at $22 each.

Call (815) 968-0123 for more details.

From the Dec. 5-11, 2012, issue

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