A Custody Case
A Custody Case
Ownership of Rodia’s Towers
The structures Simon Rodia began constructing in 1921 were a personal undertaking and remained so until he ended it in 1954. During that period, this developing site was a personal endeavor executed on private land and not subject to review or public scrutiny. However, when Mr. Rodia ceded the deed to the property, a chain of ownership ensued that had consequences for the welfare of this site. In the art historical world, provenance defines this chain of ownership. Custody is more than mere possession of something or someone. The custodian (e.g. owner) is responsible not only for the care and supervision but the preservation and conservation of a work of art. This chapter traces the chain of ownership or custody of the Towers and comments on the impact of each custodian on this artwork. The chain of custodians includes Louis H. Sauceda (1955), Joseph Montoya (1956), William Cartwright and Nicholas King (1959), City of Los Angeles (Department of Public Works, 1975), State of California Department of Parks and Recreation (1977), and State of California Department of Parks and Recreation, and City of Los Angeles (Department of Cultural Affairs, 1985).
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