Etching after Calvert Vaux’s drawings for Central Park Designs — Water Terrace and its original ground. Book illustration from A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America, page
Yuan Lee, a New York-based painter, illustrator, scholar, and historic restorer, was the new owner determined to restore the site. Lee's paintings and design works have appeared in books, magazines, and advertising campaigns. His interests in the ancient origins of the civilizations took him into finding the roots of modern Minimalism art, which was also the key to the origin of Chinese civilization. Homeschooled by a Sinologist father, he had studied the ancient Minimalism demonstrated by its earliest texts in oracle bone scripts from the second millennium B.C. and the I Ching, an ancient graphical cosmology. An avid historian and environmentalist, Lee has designed and illustrated two sets of postage stamps on environmental topics for the United Nations.
As a 20 years resident of midtown Manhattan, Yuan Lee observed the operations and politics of the Central Park Conservancy and studied the visionaries who created the park's Greensward Plan espoused new aesthetics and art for a more democratic United States after the Civil War. In Autumn 2006, a real estate broker brought Lee to tour the Chrystie House. After some serious research, Lee realized the site embodied many American visionaries' paths could be a project of reconciliation between a historical restoration and his life pursuits. He decided to retire from commercial art and focus on developing life projects, Lee's above-market bid and pushing for quick closing centered around the urgent conditions of the site. To finance the project, he sold the loft in midtown Manhattan, where he had lived for 20 years, and moved to Beacon.
Yuan Lee, Central Park studies, The Water Terrace , 1992
Yuan Lee, Central Park studies, Boat Pond, 1992
Calvert Vaux, The view form the Wodenethe library, look west
The photo of the view for Chrystie House garden, look west