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Lord Peter Palumbo is a property developer, patron of the arts, former Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, and former Chairman of The Pritzker Prize for Architecture. He has written for various publications on a variety of subjects mainly related to the arts and architecture in the United Kingdom and abroad, and has also lectured and spoken at numerous venues. Palumbo has been an avid collector since boyhood, first with matchboxes and stamps, before widening his naturally eclectic interests, varying from veteran and vintage cars, to principally French and Portuguese wines, to antiques, and contemporary art.
As a patron of the Tate Gallery, Palumbo was instrumental in bringing Merce Cunningham and John Cage to the Barbican Centre, London, and later the musicians from Preservation Hall, New Orleans. An early supporter of the works of Sean Scully and Sir Peter Blake, the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy received his first commission from Palumbo. Palumbo has also commissioned the architects Mies van der Rohe, Quinlan Terry, Richard Rogers, Shigeru Ban, and Zaha Hadid for numerous building projects.
In 1972, Palumbo purchased the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Plano, Illinois, USA. This was a stroke of serendipity since it was a photograph of the Farnsworth House that had first captured his imagination as a pupil at school and sparked his lifelong interest in Architecture. The Farnsworth House was opened to the public in 1996 and sold to The American National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2003. Palumbo also purchased and restored Frank Llyod Wright’s house Kentuck Knob house, located six miles from Fallingwater. Kentuck Knob is open to the public, and is filled with unique art and artifacts from around the world.