By Imran Vittachi
7:09 PM EST, February 29, 2012
Darlene D. DeAngelo opened the double-door to the anonymous home in Lakewood and stepped into its main entrance hall.
Works by famous artists from the world of pop and abstract art lined the hallway. These included two pieces by the late Victor Vasarely, who was considered the father of Op-Art — short hand for "Optical Art" — and a silk screen with collage piece by the late Robert Rauschenberg. And, beyond the hallway on a wall in the atrium, a piece by Frank Stella faced a glassed-in Koi pond, in which a gold fish frolicked.
DeAngelo, the curator at the Huntington Beach Art Center, took out a printed inventory and inspected the list of more than 100 art pieces scattered about the house.
"This is only my second time in the house, and I shall get lost in it," she said, turning toward a reporter and photographer who accompanied her on a sneak-peak tour of the home.
Through DeAngelo, its owners had granted the Independent special permission to visit their house on Tuesday morning and view and take pictures of art pieces that will be featured in a benefit art tour of the house, which the HBAC and its foundation are planning for the evening of March 30.
The tour of the private art collection will mark the center's first such event. Art lovers who purchase the $100-tickets will be able to view valuable works of art in a lived-in house.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Huntington Beach Art Center Foundation, the center's nonprofit financial arm. The HBAC, at 538 Main St., operates as a public/private partnership with the city of Huntington Beach, serving Surf City as a community arts and cultural venue.
The owners' names and the address were being kept confidential in order to protect their home's valuables. They were away during Tuesday's visit but had arranged for the maid to let the visitors in.
The owners were expected to be on hand for the upcoming tour, which DeAngelo is curating and which she will lead. The tour of the entire collection will begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 30, with catered hors d'oeuvres and wine and beer being served starting at 6:30 p.m.
Santa Barbara architect Richard Grossgold designed the 5,500-square-foot house, which was built in 1971.
"They built this house specifically for large-scale pieces," DeAngelo noted, referring to the married couple that owns the art collection.
The single-story house was a labyrinth of art mixed in with framed family photos and other personal mementos.
The home's interstices and rooms contained at least one more piece by Vasarely and two others by Rauschenberg, including a "Flag for Kennedy" limited edition lithograph. Rauschenberg had made the lithograph, an original copy of which now lives in the couple's master bedroom, forSen.Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968.
Elsewhere, works by other acclaimed artists such as Sam Francis, Alexander Calder, David Hockney and others were displayed in other nooks and spaces.
For example, the laundry room housed a lithograph by Juan Miro, one of the first pieces acquired in the private collection. A case in the office held a trio of paper plates signed by the pop art legend Roy Lichtenstein.
And, from a wall near a pool table and trophy of a marlin in the playroom, hung "Where the Water Goes," an original print by James Rosenquist, which represented the couple's newest art acquisition, DeAngelo said.
If You Go
What: "The Private Collection Tour" presented by the Huntington Beach Art Center Foundation
Where: At a home whose address will only be disclosed to ticket buyers via email later in March.
When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 30
Tickets: $100 each
How: To make a reservation, which is required, call the Huntington Beach Art Center at (714) 536-5258 or go to http://www.huntingtonbeachartcenter.org.