The endless highways, freeways and twisting hilltop driveways of Los Angeles hide a lot of secrets, but none are yet to make for a more delightful discovery than the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation.
The late, seemingly great, Mr. Weisman made a considerable fortune importing Japanese cars into the US before anyone else (smart guy) and then spent a hell of a lot of it on art. Specifically pop and contemporary art, for which he had an eye and a passion long before others began to appreciate its beauty. Then Mr. Weisman bought a big house in Beverly Hills, filled it up with his Crayola-bright collection, and lived in a sea of Warhols, Lichtensteins, Picassos, Magrittes and Giacomettis for many happy, presumably quite surreal, years.
Mr. Weisman died in 1994 but the house, which he shared with his surviving wife Billie, is now open to the public. Located at the top of a twisty road and set amongst acres of lush trees and flowers, you can book in to take an entirely free guided tour of the house with a day or so’s notice. Some minimal forward planning comes with a considerable payoff: there can’t be many collections in the world where you can you’ll see De Koonings and Magrittes in the dining room, or where you can sit in someone’s living room and meditate on a Rothko - as Mr. Weisman apparently liked to do.