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Photos: Stern and Bucek Architects/Hester + Hardaway (living room, exterior); Un-erasing Sol LeWitt (line drawing fragments); Tyler Rudick (Bill Stern); Jonna Hitchcock (current wall and uncovered fragment)
In 2013, upon the death of noted Houston architect William F. Stern, the Menil Collection became the owners of his award-winning modern house and his extensive art collection.
For undisclosed reasons, the Menil chose to sell the house and since they could not sell an artwork that had been bequeathed to them, they painted over the 30-foot-tall Sol LeWitt wall drawing that Stern had specially commissioned for the space in the early nineties, just before he broke ground for construction.
The Stern house was purchased in 2014 by a local dentist and art lover. After much speculation about whether the LeWitt might be recoverable, a friend who was visiting in December 2017 began to chip at the painted wall with a dull knife, seeking answers. What he discovered surprised everyone: the LeWitt had been covered by a thin layer of sheetrock mud which easily flakes off revealing the beautiful colors of what lies underneath.
This will be the story of Unerasing a Sol LeWitt. More to come.