August 03, 2017

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: UNPACKING THE ARCHIVE AT MOMA NEW YORK




FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: UNPACKING THE ARCHIVE AT MOMA NEW YORK
June 12, 2017 – October 1, 2017




FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: UNPACKING THE ARCHIVE AT MOMA NEW YORK
June 12, 2017 – October 1, 2017
Major retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright delves into archives to present fresh perspectives on the renowned architect’s practice.
Exhibition Presents Nearly 400 Objects from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives in New York to Mark the 150th Anniversary of Wright’s Birth 
The Museum of Modern Art presents a major exhibition that critically engages the multifaceted practice of Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867– 1959), one of the most prolific and renowned architects of the 20th century. A radical designer and intellectual, Wright embraced new technologies and materials, pioneered do-it yourself construction systems and avant-garde experimentation, and advanced original theories with regards to nature, urban planning, and social politics. Marking the 150th anniversary of the American architect’s birth on June 8, 1867, the exhibition comprises nearly 400 works made from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, along with a number of works that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited. Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive is presented by MoMA in collaboration with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; with Jennifer Gray, Project Research Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art. 
In a career spanning seven decades, Wright designed more than 1,000 buildings and realized over 500. Ever concerned with posterity, Wright preserved most of his drawings—despite some tragic losses to fires—to form an archive that he hoped would perpetuate his architectural philosophy, first as a tool in the production of architecture in the Taliesin Fellowship, an apprenticeship program he founded in the 1930s at his studio-residences in Wisconsin and Arizona, and subsequently as an academic resource for outside researchers. Progressively catalogued and opened to specialists by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the archive was jointly acquired by The Museum of Modern Art and Avery Architectural & Fine
Arts Library at Columbia University in 2012. This exhibition celebrates this pioneering collaboration and the new accessibility of the collection to both scholars and the public.  
Unpacking the Archive refers to the monumental task of moving 55,000 drawings, 300,000 sheets of correspondence, 125,000 photographs, and 2,700 manuscripts, as well as models, films, building fragments, and other materials. It also refers to the work of interpretation and the close examination of projects that in some cases have received little attention. For this exhibition, a group of scholars and a museum conservator were invited to “unpack”— contextualize, ask questions about, and otherwise explore—an object or cluster of objects of their choosing. Their processes of discovery are recorded in a series of short films that introduce the thematic sections of the exhibition. The questions posed illuminate the complex historical periods through which Wright lived, from the late 19th century, marked by optimism, through the Great Depression of the 1930s, to the decades following World War II, when the United States experienced great demographic and economic growth. Each scholarly inquiry offers insights at once historical and contemporary in resonance, touching on issues that include landscape and environmental concerns, the relationship of industry to daily life, questions of race, class, and social democracy, and the expanding power of mass media in forming reputations and opinions.    
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150 is organized around a central chronological spine highlighting many of Wright’s major projects, which will be illustrated with some of his finest drawings and include key works such as Unity Temple (1905–08), Fallingwater (1934–37), the Johnson Wax Administration Building (1936–39), and the Marin County Civic Center (1957–70). Unfolding from this orienting spine are 12 subsections, covering themes both familiar and little explored, that highlight for visitors the process of discovery undertaken by invited scholars, historians, architects, and art conservators.
REFRAMING THE IMPERIAL HOTEL
KEN OSHIMA ( UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON )
The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (1913–23) was one of Wright’s most ambitious projects, a monumental building with Western services, Japanese protocol for Imperial visits, and integrated gardens, which famously survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The central object in this section is Wright’s personal copy of a very rare illustrated book on the Imperial Hotel building published shortly after its completion, which Wright annotated with sketches and visual enhancements. It is an unparalleled opportunity to see this now demolished masterpiece as it originally stood. It is displayed alongside a dozen of the nearly 1,100 drawings of the Imperial Hotel that exist in the archive, as well as original furniture, textiles, and tableware from the hotel, which together demonstrate the attention Wright paid to every detail of the hotel design in an attempt to make an integrated work of art.  
ORNAMENT
SPYROS PAPAPETROS (PRINCETON UNIVERSITY)
Famously, modernist architects advocated the elimination of decoration from buildings, yet ornamentation persists throughout Wright’s design work in a great variety of forms. Beginning with Midway Gardens (1913–14), an elaborately decorated entertainment complex in Chicago, this section traces the transformation of ornament across decorative artifacts and architectural relics, including a copper urn, textiles, mosaics, murals, stained glass doors, and concrete blocks. Wright envisioned these fragments as parts of an integrated whole, as demonstrated in projects such as the V.C. Morris Store in San Francisco (1948–49) and the Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee (1955–61). He also experimented with commercial designs, including a line of glassware for the Dutch firm Leerdam Glasfabriek, covers for Liberty magazine, and a “Taliesin Line” of fabrics for F. Schumacher and Co.
ECOLOGIES & LANDSCAPES     
THERESE O’MALLEY (NATIONAL GALLERY, WASHINGTON, DC) &
JENNIFER GRAY (MOMA)
From his early celebration of the prairie landscapes of the Midwest to his experiments with living in harmony with the Sonoran desert of the Southwest, Wright explored the most varied terrains and ecosystems. Two rarely studied drawings in the exhibition offer new insights. A planting plan, called the “Floricycle,” for the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York (1903–06), reveals a surprising mixture of native and exotic plants, raising questions about Wright’s dedication to regional landscapes and indigenous plants. While an undated graphic design for the Friends of Our Native Landscape, an environmentalist group founded by prominent landscape designer Jens Jensen, invites reflection on Wright’s views on the conservation versus transformation of sites. Following from these provocations is a selection of projects in which Wright attempts to integrate architecture and the natural world, including an estate for Sherman Booth that negotiated deep ravines and escarpments, and his monumental project for San Marcos-in-the-Desert, represented in the exhibition with presentation drawings and a large-scale watercolor depicting the complex from the air. 
LITTLE FARMS UNIT
JULIET KINCHIN (MoMA)
A little-known model of an experimental farm that Wright designed in 1932–33 reveals how the architect utilized back-to-the-land strategies during the Great Depression, with the goal of allowing people to lead independent, productive lives and derive sustenance—both physical and spiritual—from nature. Photographs, cropping plans, and drawings demonstrate that these “Little Farms” were part of an ambitious farm-to-market system. Poster designs and films complement these materials and draw connections between Wright’s ambitions and New Deal programs initiated by President Roosevelt, as well as Soviet programs for industrializing agricultural production.  
Nakoma Country Club Elizabeth Hawley (CUNY Graduate Center) Wright was keenly interested in American Indian culture, especially in the opening decades of the 20th century, when native culture was widely celebrated as an authentic expression of American identity. This section centers on an unrealized project for the Nakoma Country Club near Madison, Wisconsin (1923), in which Wright appropriated native architectural forms, such as wigwams and tipis, and also designed figurative sculptures depicting American Indians. Archival photographs reveal that he collected native artifacts and even designed and built a totem pole, now lost, at Taliesin West, his residence and studio in Arizona. Together, the projects demonstrate how Wright’s interest in American Indian imagery existed in tension with prevailing racial stereotypes and imperialist strategies.  




ROSENWALD SCHOOL
MABEL WILSON (COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY)
While Wright explored the relationship between learning and educational spaces throughout his career, this section of the exhibition explores a little-known design Wright drew up in 1928 for the Rosenwald Foundation, for a model school building for African American children. Created by Julius Rosenwald, a co-owner of Sears, Roebuck & Company in Chicago, the Rosenwald Foundation’s focus on arts and education among African Americans included an ambitious project to subsidize the construction of rural schools throughout the South. Wright’s design reoriented this program of schools for the segregated South from traditional clapboard schoolhouses to innovative buildings that the students were intended to help build, making hands-on labor an integral part of education. The project, begun in 1928, never progressed beyond the schematic stage. 
DRAWING IN THE STUDIO
JANET PARKS (AVERY DRAWINGS & ARCHIVES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY)
Wright’s architectural drawings, some of the most renowned of the 20th century, are remarkable for their artistic quality and signature style. Yet most of them were produced by the ever-changing cast of draftsmen, students, and apprentices working in his studios, many of whom left their own imprint on Wright’s legacy. This section analyzes Wright’s drawings for clues to how his practice operated, the personalities involved, and the processes and materials employed at various times. 
Before Wright established an independent practice, early work shows him drawing in the style of his mentor, Louis Sullivan. The Japanese-inspired compositions of Marion Mahony, one of the first licensed female architects in the US and Wright’s most talented renderer in the Oak Park studio, is seen in a rare drawing that bears her signature. 
READING ‘’MILE- HILE’’
BARRY BERGDOLL (MoMA & COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY)
Wright’s proposal for a mile-high skyscraper—for which there was neither commission nor client—commanded headlines when he released his design in a press conference at Chicago’s Sherman Hotel on October 16, 1956. Despite his unprecedented ambitions—even today, the tallest building in the world, in Dubai, is only a half-mile high—Wright’s “mile-high” proposal has never occupied a large place in architectural history. Nor has the possible meaning of the inscriptions that occupy the upper half of one of Wright’s super-tall drawings of the project been “unpacked.” This drawing is shown in the exhibition alongside archival photographs, brochures, letters, and telegrams documenting the 1956 press conference and the public’s reaction to it.  
The proposed tower culminated in seven stories of television studios, even as Wright was himself becoming something of a TV personality, first as a mystery guest on the What’s My Line? game show (June 3, 1956) and then as a guest on The Mike Wallace Interview
(September 1 and 2, 1957). Clips from these appearances are included in the galleries. This section explores how Wright was aiming for a place in the new media of publicity, and a place in history.
URBANISM
NEIL LEVINE (HARVARD UNIVERSITY)
This section is anchored by Wright’s Skyscraper Regulation project for a nine-block area of downtown Chicago (1926), which reveals the broad reach of his ideas about the city and serves as a window into his career-long efforts in urban design. Intended to relieve the congestion caused by unchecked skyscraper development and by massive increases in vehicular traffic, the city grid is opened up to create internal courtyards with underground parking, while raised sidewalks separate pedestrians from cars and trucks.  Between 1896 and 1913, Wright conceived a radically new method of subdivision allowing groupings of houses to preserve an unprecedented degree of privacy while creating a sense of community. In the final decades of his career, he turned to the design of civic centers, cultural centers, and mixed-use development that revitalized the heart of the city in an era dominated by the automobile and suburb. The exhibition includes several of these large projects, often megastructures incorporating roadways and parking, designed for Madison, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Baghdad.  
BUILDINGS SYSTEMS  
MATTHEW SKJONSBERG (SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY) &
MICHAEL OSMAN (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES)
Though Wright’s name is often equated with spectacularly singular residential designs, this section examines his engagement with industry in various ways to design lower-cost houses that would be affordable to middle-class Americans. The American System-Built Houses designed in 1915–17 utilized a wood-based system that relied on factory-produced components, mail-order distribution techniques, and licensed contractors to ensure an affordable, high-quality product. By the early 1950s, Wright developed a do-it-yourself process called the Usonian Automatic system that enabled individuals to build their own houses using self-cast concrete blocks. The competing systems, which used entirely different materials and modes of production, bracket decades in which Wright responded to the shifting economic and labor conditions of the Depression and postwar periods by alternatively embracing mass production and handicraft to advance both his architectural brand and his democratic vision.  
CIRCULAR GEOMETRIES  
MICHAEL DESMOND (LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY)
Wright was continually in search of systems of design that could both control all elements of structure and space harmonically and serve as a generator of form. From the 1930s, he moved from orthogonal grids of angular forms to more dynamic organizational systems based on circles and arcs to engage and shape perceptions of the landscape. Starting from the unusual approach of laying out a suburban division of land for residential development with a series of tangent circles in a project for Galesburg, Michigan (1946–49), this section traces the evolution of the architect’s circular planning. These experiments culminated in Wright’s residential designs for Raúl Baillères, a circular house that engaged the broad sweep of Acapulco Bay in Mexico, and V.C. Morris, a spiral structure clinging to a precipice overlooking the Pacific Ocean.   
NEW YORK MODELS CONSERVED 
ELLEN MOODY (MoMA)
Wright often used meticulously detailed building models as publicity tools to persuade clients and as props in staged photographs, and they were central to his organization of museum exhibitions of his work. Made of light wood and cardboard painted in bright colors, the models were easy to transport but inherently fragile. They were frequently repaired and bear traces of their travels and travails. The exhibition features two newly restored models for projects for Manhattan: St. Mark’s Tower (1927–29) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1943– 59). MoMA conservator Ellen Moody conducted extensive archival research and closely investigated the models’ physical fabric through discussions with experts and curatorial staff, X-rays, paint analysis, and the employment of various digital technologies. These conservation processes are documented in videos in the galleries, demonstrating the spectrum of approaches possible in contemporary conservation practice and revealing new insights into the working methods of the architect and his studio.

https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1660?locale=en


















SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK 1943–1959
Perspective from Fifth Avenue
Ink, pencil, and colored pencil on tracing paper
Dimensions: 65.7 × 101 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)


























SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK












NAKOMA COUNTRY CLUB




NAKOMA COUNTRY CLUB
Wright was keenly interested in American Indian art and architecture, especially in the early decades of the twentieth century, when native culture was widely celebrated by many people as an authentic expression of American identity, even as native peoples were being colonized and displaced from their lands. In addition to believing that indigenous imagery and designs could free American architecture  of the baggage of European historical models, Wright was associated with several clubs and groups that incorporated native-inspired  rituals into their programs, and his circle included prominent supporters of American Indian rights.  In an unrealized project for the Nakoma Country Club (1923–24), near Madison, Wisconsin, Wright appropriated native architectural forms, such as wigwams and tipis, using them interchangeably despite the fact that they belong to distinct indigenous cultures. The design demonstrates how, like most of his contemporaries, Wright tended  to romanticize and generalize American Indian culture. The complex picture that emerges is one in which Wright’s interest in American Indian imagery exists in tension with prevailing racial stereotypes and imperialist strategies.


























NAKOMA COUNTRY CLUB












IMPERIAL HOTEL, TOKYO 1913–1923






IMPERIAL HOTEL, TOKYO 1913–1923
STONE CARVING AND POLYCHROME DECORATIONS FOR THE NORTH PARLOR
Gold Paint, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 55.6 × 91.1 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
















REFRAMING THE IMPERIAL HOTEL
The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo took over a decade to build—its earliest designs date from 1913 and it was completed in 1923—and exerted  a profound influence on both Wright’s designs and the architecture  of a modernizing Japan. From his first encounter with the Ho-o-den,  a Japanese pavilion at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Wright had been inspired by traditional Japanese art and architecture. He began collecting Japanese woodblock prints during his first visit to Japan  in 1905, subsequently mounting exhibitions of them and becoming  an important dealer. Now he was called upon to build a modern hotel adjacent to the Imperial Palace, at the very heart of the Japanese capital—a monumental building with western services, Japanese protocol for imperial visits, and integrated gardens.  Alongside nearly 800 drawings of the project, the archive also contains Wright’s personal copy of Teikoku Hoteru (Imperial Hotel),  a very rare illustrated book on the building published in 1923, shortly after its completion. The publication allowed Wright, who had returned to the United States before the hotel opened, not only to see the finished results of his work but to continue reworking, adding notations, adjustments, and even landscaping details in pencil. The photographs in the book, as well as others displayed here, frame the building in highly aestheticized ways, while the building’s vertical windows create meticulously controlled views of the garden and of Tokyo, not unlike the compositions of the Japanese prints Wright admired. The architecture of the Imperial Hotel together with its representation suggests the varied ways Wright endeavored to engage and reframe cultural exchanges between East and West.






IMPERIAL HOTEL, TOKYO 1913–1923
CROSS SECTION LOOKING EAST   
Ink, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Drafting Cloth
Dimensions: 38.1 × 101.6 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)














JOHN STORRER HOUSE
























JOHN STORRER HOUSE












UNITY TEMPLE, OAK PARK, ILLINOIS 1905-1908






UNITY TEMPLE, OAK PARK, ILLINOIS 1905-1908
Perspective Watercolor and Ink on Paper
30.5 × 63.8 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
 











UNITY TEMPLE, OAK PARK, ILLINOIS 1905-1908












THE MILE-HIGH ILLINOIS, CHICAGO PROJECT 1956
PERSPECTIVE WITH THE GOLDEN BEACON APARTMENT BUILDING PROJECT (1956–57)
Pencil, Colored Pencil, and Gold Ink on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 266.7 x 76.2 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
  





LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE (AMERICAN, BORN GERMANY 1886–1969)
FRIEDRICHSTRASSE SKYSCRAPER PROJECT, BERLIN-MITTE, GERMANY 1921
Exterior Perspective From North
Charcoal and Graphite on Paper Mounted on Board
Dimensions: 173.4 x 121.9 cm
Mies van der Rohe Archive, Gift of the Architect
 









THE MILE-HIGH ILLINOIS, CHICAGO PROJECT 1956
ELEVATION AND PLAN
Pencil and Colored Pencil on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 92.1 × 98.4 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)










THE MILE-HIGH ILLINOIS, CHICAGO PROJECT 1956












ENNIS HOUSE, LOS ANGELES. 1924 - 1925














ENNIS HOUSE, LOS ANGELES. 1924 - 1925
PERSPECTIVE FROM THE SOUTHWEST
Pencil, Colored Pencil and Ink on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 51.1 x 99.4 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (the Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)










ENNIS HOUSE, LOS ANGELES. 1924 - 1925














V. C. MORRIS GIFT SHOP, SAN FRANCISCO 1948–1949










V. C. MORRIS GIFT SHOP, SAN FRANCISCO 1948–1949
SOUTH - NORTH SECTION
Ink, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 74.9 × 88.9 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
  







V. C. MORRIS GIFT SHOP, SAN FRANCISCO 1948–1949












MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK




MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK
Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world.
Through the leadership of its Trustees and staff, The Museum of Modern Art manifests this commitment by establishing, preserving, and documenting a collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of modern and contemporary art; by presenting exhibitions and educational programs of unparalleled significance; by sustaining a library, archives, and conservation laboratory that are recognized as international centers of research; and by supporting scholarship and publications of preeminent intellectual merit.
Central to The Museum of Modern Art’s mission is the encouragement of an ever-deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art by the diverse local, national, and international audiences that it serves. You may read more about MoMA’s entire information to click below link.
http://press.moma.org/about/


























 MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK














MIDWAY GARDENS










MIDWAY GARDENS












FALLINGWATER (KAUFMANN HOUSE), MILL RUN, PENNSYLVANIA 1934–1937 








FALLINGWATER (KAUFMANN HOUSE), MILL RUN, PENNSYLVANIA 1934–1937 
PERSPECTIVE FROM THE SOUTHWEST  
Pencil and Colored Pencil on Paper
39.1 × 69.2 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art |
 Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York) 






















FALLINGWATER (KAUFMANN HOUSE), MILL RUN, PENNSYLVANIA 1934–1937 












ST. MARK’S TOWER, NEW YORK PROJECT 1927 - 1929
Model Painted Wood and Cardboard
Dimensions: 134.6 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York) 






ST. MARK’S TOWER, NEW YORK PROJECT 1927 - 1929
Plans, Section, and Cutaway Perspective
 Ink, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Cloth
Dimensions: 118.1 × 90.2 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)  














ST. MARK’S TOWER, NEW YORK PROJECT 1927 - 1929














DARWIN D. MARTIN HOUSE, BUFFALO, NEW YORK 1903 - 1906
 FLORICYCLE
 Ink on Drafting Cloth
Dimensions: 81.6 × 101 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
















DARWIN D. MARTIN HOUSE, BUFFALO, NEW YORK 1903 - 1906












JOHNSON WAX ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, RACINE, WISCONSIN 1936–1939




JOHNSON WAX ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, RACINE, WISCONSIN 1936–1939
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE  
Ink, Ink Wash, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Paper
Dimensions: EST.: 48.3 × 97.5 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
 













JOHNSON WAX ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, RACINE, WISCONSIN 1936–1939














"MARCH BALLOONS" 1955 DRAWING BASED ON A C. 1926
DESIGN FOR LIBERTY MAGAZINE
Colored Pencil on Paper
Dimensions: 62.2 × 71.8 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York 






AMERICAN SYSTEM-BUILT (READY-CUT) HOUSES.
PROJECT, 1915 - 17. MODEL OPTIONS Lithographs
Dimensions: Each: 27.9 x 21.6 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gifts of David Rockefeller, Jr,. Fund,
Ira Howard Levy Fund and Jeffrey P. Klein Purchase Fund 








SIDE CHAIR FOR THE C. IMPERIAL HOTEL, TOKYO, C. 1922
Oak and Caning
Dimensions: 95.9 × 40 × 43.8 cm
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of
Dr. and Mrs. Roger G. Gerry, 1968






MADISON CIVIC CENTER (MONONA TERRACE), MADISON,
WISCONSIN PROJECT 1938–1959
Night Perspective From the West, 1955
Ink and Pencil on Paper Mounted on Plywood
Dimensions: 81.3 × 101.6 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)










TALIESIN WEST
































TALIESIN WEST












V. C. MORRIS HOUSE, SAN FRANCISCO PROJECT 1944 - 1946






V. C. MORRIS HOUSE, SAN FRANCISCO PROJECT 1944 - 1946
PERSPECTIVE FROM BELOW
Ink, Pencil, and Colored Pencil on Tracing Paper
Dimensions: 101.9 × 106.4 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
 





GORDON STRONG AUTOMOBILE OBJECTIVE & PLANETARIUM,
SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN, MARYLAND PROJECT 1924–1925 






GORDON STRONG AUTOMOBILE OBJECTIVE & PLANETARIUM,
SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN, MARYLAND PROJECT 1924–1925
Perspective Pencil and Colored Pencil on Tracing Paper
50.2 × 78.1 cm
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York) 












MARIN COUNTY CIVIC CENTER
















MARIN COUNTY CIVIC CENTER












WAINWRIGHT TOMB












WAINWRIGHT TOMB












PALMER HOUSE




















PALMER HOUSE










THE LIFE OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
EARLY LIFE
The experiences of Wright’s upbringing were crucial in forming Wright’s unique aesthetic.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, on June 8, 1867, the son of William Carey Wright, a preacher and a musician, and Anna Lloyd Jones, a teacher whose large Welsh family had settled the valley area near Spring Green, Wisconsin. His early childhood was nomadic as his father traveled from one ministry position to another in Rhode Island, Iowa, and Massachusetts, before settling in Madison, Wis., in 1878.
Wright’s parents divorced in 1885, making already challenging financial circumstances even more challenging. To help support the family, 18-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright worked for the dean of the University of Wisconsin’s department of engineering while also studying at the university. But, he knew he wanted to be an architect. In 1887, he left Madison for Chicago, where he found work with two different firms before being hired by the prestigious partnership of Adler and Sullivan, working directly under Louis Sullivan for six years.
EARLY WORK
As Wright explored his personal interests, his work ushered in brand new styles of design.
In 1889, at age 22, Wright married Catherine Lee Tobin. Eager to build his own home, he negotiated a five-year contract with Sullivan in exchange for the loan of the necessary money. He purchased a wooded corner lot in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park and built his first house, a modest residence reminiscent of the East Coast shingle style with its prominent roof gable. It also reflected Wright’s ingenuity as he experimented with geometric shapes and volumes in the studio and playroom he later added for his ever-growing family of six children. Remembered by the children as a lively household, filled with beautiful things Wright found it hard to go without, it was not long before escalating expenses tempted him into accepting independent residential commissions. Although he did these on his own time, when Sullivan became aware of them in 1893, he charged Wright with breach of contract. It is not clear whether Wright quit or was fired, but his departure was acrimonious, creating a rift between the two men that was not repaired for nearly two decades. The split, however, presented the opportunity Wright needed to go out on his own. He opened an office and began his quest to design homes that he believed would truly belong on the American prairie.
The William H. Winslow House was Wright’s first independent commission. While conservative in comparison to work of a few years later, with its broad sheltering roof and simple elegance, it nonetheless attracted local attention.  Determined to create an indigenous American architecture, over the next sixteen years he set the standards for what became known as the Prairie Style. These houses reflected the long, low horizontal prairie on which they sat with low-pitched roofs, deep overhangs, no attics or basements, and generally long rows of casement windows that further emphasized the horizontal theme.   Some of Wright’s most important residential works of the time are the Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York (1903), the Avery Coonley House in Riverside, Illinois (1907), and the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago (1908). Important public commissions included the Larkin Company Administration Building in Buffalo (1903, demolished 1950) and Unity Temple in Oak Park (1905).
Creatively exhausted and emotionally restless, late in 1909 Wright left his family for an extended stay in Europe with Mamah Borthwick (Cheney), a client with whom he had been in love for several years. Wright hoped he could escape the weariness and discontent that now governed both his professional and domestic life. During this European hiatus Wright worked on two publications of his work, published by Ernst Wasmuth, one of drawings known as the Wasmuth Portfolio, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright and one of photographs, Ausgeführte Bauten, both released in 1911.  These publications brought international recognition to his work and greatly influenced other architects.  The same year, Wright and Mamah returned to the States and, unwelcome in Chicago social circles, began construction of Taliesin near Spring Green as their home and refuge.  There he also resumed his architectural practice and over the next several years received two important public commissions: the first in 1913 for an entertainment center called Midway Gardens in Chicago; the second, in 1916, for the new Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

In August 1914, Wright’s life with Mamah was tragically closed as she, her two children and four others were killed in a brutal attack and fire, intentionally started by an angry Taliesin domestic employee. Emotionally and spiritually devastated by the tragedy, Wright was able to find solace only in work and he began to rebuild Taliesin in Mamah’s memory. Once completed, he then effectively abandoned it for nearly a decade as he pursued major work in Tokyo with the Imperial Hotel, which was demolished 1968, and Los Angeles with the Hollyhock House and Olive Hill for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.




TALIESIN FELLOWSHIP
Wright sought to teach others by having them become active in each aspect of his projects
The years between 1922 and 1934 were both architecturally creative and fiscally catastrophic. Wright had established an office in Los Angeles, but following his return from Japan in 1922 commissions were scarce, with the exception of the four textile block houses of 1923–1924 (Millard, Storer, Freeman and Ennis). He soon abandoned the West Coast and returned to Taliesin. While only a few projects went into construction, this decade was one of great design innovation for Wright. Among the unbuilt commissions were the National Life Insurance Building (Chicago, 1924), the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective (Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, 1925), San Marcos-in-the-Desert resort (Chandler, Arizona, 1928), and St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowerie apartment towers (New York City, 1928).
In 1928, Wright married Olga Lazovich (known as Olgivanna), daughter of a Chief Justice of Montenegro, whom he had met a few years earlier in Chicago. She proved to be the partner and stabilizing influence he needed in order to refocus on “the cause of architecture” he had begun decades earlier.
With few architectural commissions coming his way, Wright turned to writing and lecturing which introduced him to a larger national audience. Two important publications came out in 1932: An Autobiography and The Disappearing City. The first received widespread critical acclaim and would continue to inspire generations of young architects. The second introduced Wright’s scheme for Broadacre City, a utopian vision for decentralization that moved the city into the country. Although it received little serious consideration at the time, it would influence community development in unforeseen ways in the decades to come. At about this same time, Wright and Olgivanna founded an architectural school at Taliesin, the “Taliesin Fellowship,” an apprenticeship program to provide a total learning environment, integrating not only architecture and construction, but also farming, gardening, and cooking, and the study of nature, music, art, and dance.
Wright’s apprenticeship program lives on today through the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
LATER LIFE
For Wright, creation continued until the very end
REMARKABLE RETURN
With this larger community to take care of, and Wisconsin winters brutal, the winter of 1934 found the Wrights and the Fellowship in rented quarters in the warmer air of Arizona where they worked on the Broadacre City model, which would debut in Rockefeller Center in 1935. Wright was by this time still considered a great architect, but one whose time had come and gone. In 1936, Wright proved this sentiment wrong as he staged a remarkable comeback with several important commissions including the S.C. Johnson and Son Company Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin; Fallingwater, the country house for Edgar Kaufmann in rural Pennsylvania; and the Herbert Jacobs House (the first executed “Usonian” house) in Madison.
At this same time, Wright decided he wanted a more permanent winter residence in Arizona, and he acquired some acreage of raw, rugged desert in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale.  Here he and the Taliesin Fellowship began the construction of Taliesin West as a winter camp, a bold new endeavor for desert living where he tested design innovations, structural ideas, and building details that responded to the dramatic desert setting. Wright and the fellowship established migration patterns between Wisconsin and Arizona, which the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture continues to this day.
Acknowledging Wright’s stunning reentry into the architectural spotlight, the Museum of Modern Art in New York staged a comprehensive retrospective exhibition that opened in 1940. In June 1943, undeterred by a world at war, Wright received a letter that initiated the most important, and most challenging, commission of his late career. Baroness Hilla von Rebay wrote asking him to design a building to house the Solomon R. Guggenheim collection of non-objective paintings. Wright responded enthusiastically, never anticipating the tremendous amount of time and energy this project would consume before its completion sixteen years later.
THE LAST DECADES
With the end of the war in 1945, many apprentices returned and work again flowed into the studio. Completed public projects over the next decade included the Research Tower for the SC Johnson Company, a Unitarian meeting house in Madison, a skyscraper in Oklahoma, and several buildings for Florida Southern College. Other, ultimately unbuilt, projects included a hotel for Dallas, Texas, two large civic commissions for Pittsburgh, a sports club for Hollywood, a mile-high tower for Chicago, a department store for Ahmedabad, India, and a plan for Greater Baghdad.
Wright opened his last decade with work on a large exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: Sixty Years of Living Architecturewhich was soon on an international tour traveling to Florence, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Rotterdam, and Mexico City, before returning to the United States for additional venues. Impressively energetic for man in his eighties, he continued to travel extensively, lecture widely, and write prolifically. He was still actively involved with all aspects of work including frequent trips to New York to oversee construction of the Guggenheim Museum when, in April of 1959, he was suddenly stricken by an illness which forced his hospitalization. He died April 9, two months shy of his ninety-second birthday.
STYLE & DESIGN
Wright’s style and design changed as he responded to the needs of American society,
Wright opened his last decade with work on a large exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: Sixty Years of Living Architecturewhich was soon on an international tour traveling to Florence, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Rotterdam, and Mexico City, before returning to the United States for additional venues. Impressively energetic for man in his eighties, he continued to travel extensively, lecture widely, and write prolifically. He was still actively involved with all aspects of work including frequent trips to New York to oversee construction of the Guggenheim Museum when, in April of 1959, he was suddenly stricken by an illness which forced his hospitalization. He died April 9, two months shy of his ninety-second birthday.
USONIAN

Responding to the financial crisis of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression that gripped the United States and the rest of the world, Wright began working on affordable housing, which developed into the Usonian house. Wright’s Usonians were a simplified approach to residential construction that reflected both economic realities and changing social trends. In the Usonian houses, Wright was offering a simplified, but beautiful environment for living that Americans could both afford and enjoy. Wright would continue to design Usonian houses for the rest of career, with variations reflecting the diverse client budgets.










PHILOSOPHY
DESIGN FOR DEMOCRACY
Wright always aspired to provide his client with environments that were not only functional but also “eloquent and humane.” Perhaps uniquely among the great architects, Wright pursued an architecture for everyman rather than every man for one architecture through the careful use of standardization to achieve accessible tailoring options to for his clients.
INTEGRITY & CONNECTION
Believing that architecture could be genuinely transformative, Wright devoted his life to creating a total aesthetic that would enhance society’s well being. “Above all integrity,” he would say: “buildings like people must first be sincere, must be true.” Architecture was not just about buildings, but about nourishing the lives of those within them.
NATURE’S PRINCIPLES & SCULPTURES
For Wright, a truly organic building developed from within outwards and was thus in harmony with its time, place, and inhabitants. “In organic architecture then, it is quite impossible to consider the building as one thing, its furnishings another and its setting and environment still another,” he concluded. “The spirit in which these buildings are conceived sees all these together at work as one thing.” To that end, Wright designed furniture, rugs, fabrics, art glass, lighting, dinnerware, and graphic arts.
MATERIAL & MACHINE
Wright embraced new technologies and tactics, constantly pushing the boundaries of his field. His fascination for the new and his desire to be a pioneer help explain Wright’s tendency to test his materials—sometimes even to the brink of failure—in an effort to achieve effects he could claim as uniquely his own.
ARCHITECTURE AS THE GREAT MOTHER ART
Wright devoted his life to promoting architecture as “the great mother art, behind which all others are definitely, distinctly and inevitably related.” Seeking a consistent expression of underlying unity, he drew inspiration from the Japanese idea of a culture in which every object, every human, and every action were integrated so as to make an entire civilization a work of art. Above all else, Wright’s vision served beauty. He believed that every man, woman and child had the right to live a beautiful life in beautiful circumstances and he sought to create an affordable architecture that served that aspiration.
WRITINGS
Fundamental to understanding Wright’s work, his writings allow readers to see into his creative mind through an intimate lens.
Wright’s own texts are a testament to the fact that his ability to articulate himself matched his genius with brick, concrete and glass. His books offer readers an exclusive glimpse into the life and work of the complex architect.

http://franklloydwright.org/frank-lloyd-wright/