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Fr ank

lloyd

wright


Fr ank

lloyd wright

his work through his sketches


information in this booklet compiled by Jenna Carando MassArt GD Department ©2011 dedicated to J .  A .  DeMarche Sr.

5

Frank Lloyd Wright


Table of contents

6

Wright’s Work

8

Wright’s Personal Life

12

Colophon & Sources


When organic architecture is properly carried out, no landscape is ever outraged by it but is always developed by it.


Wright’s work Wright firmly believed that architects were a superior group. “The architect must be the most comprehensive of all the masters; most comprehensive of all the human beings on earth. His work, the thing that is entrusted to him by way of his virtue, is the most broad of all.” 1 As a major component to the modern architecture movement, Wright had his own opinions on what a perfect modern building was. “My prescription for a modern house: first, a good site. Pick one that has features making for character . . . Then build your house so that you may still look from where you stood upon all that charmed you and lose nothing of what you saw before the house was build,

but see more.”   He stressed this point throughout his career, firmly standing behind his conviction that architecture should be one with its natural environment; “The good building makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before that building was built  .   .   .    When organic architecture is properly carried out, no landscape is ever outraged by it but is always developed by it.” 3 The integration of the outdoors and indoors in Wright’s work was revolutionary and made it incredibly unique. He strived for “A true liberation of life and light within walls; a new structural integrity; outside coming in; and the space within, to be lived in, going out. Space outside 2

becomes a natural part of space within the building. A new sense of reality in building construction has arrived.”  4 Wright felt that Modern architecture “Rejects the major axis and the minor axis of classic architecture. It rejects all grandomania, every building that would stand in military fashion heels together, eyes front, something on the right hand and something on the left hand. Architecture already favors the reflex, the natural easy attitude, the occult symmetry of grace and rhythm affirming the ease, grace, and naturalness of natural life.”  5

Frank Lloyd Wright • 7


Wright’s Personal Life Born in Wisconsin to a preacher and a school teacher in 1867, Wright grew up surrounded by a beautiful, natural landscape that would later have a great influence on his work. The industrial revolution that took place during his lifetime also had a large impact on him. “Anyone born during the 1860s, as Wright was, was exposed in his formative years to constant innovation, invention, and change.”  6 Wright worked in Chicago in the midst of the great architectural boom following the Chicago fires. He learned his architectural basics from Silsbee, for whom he was a draftsman in 1887. In 1888, he went on to work for Adler and Sullivan, a progressive

8 • Frank Lloyd Wright

architectural firm in Chicago. Sullivan was known for his “form follows function” ideology. This ideology rubbed off on Wright, who absorbed a great deal of Sullivan’s architectural knowledge during their years working together. Wright was only in his 20’s, yet he had already worked on some of the most famous buildings in Chicago under Sullivan. He left the firm in 1893 after accusations from Sullivan in regards to some clandestine business on Wright’s part. Wright married fairly young and built his own home at age 22 in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife Kitty. The home, done in the Arts and Crafts style, is entirely different from the

homes that he would later go on to design. He abruptly left his first wife and six children in 1909, at the age of 42, and ran off to Europe with Mamah Cheney. The situation was even more scandalous; Mamah was the wife of one of Wright’s former clients. In 1911 the two established their “love bungalow” in Helena Valley where he had lived as a child. Their home was named Taliesin, which means“shining brow” in Welsh. It was a true example of Wright’s belief that “No house should never be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together, each the happier for the other.” 7


Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility; I chose honest arrogance.


On August 15th, 1914, the first in a line of tragedies occured. While away on business, a servant set fire to Taliesin. He not only ruined Wright’s home and masterpiece, but he also hatcheted his wife, Mamah, and her children to death. Things continued to unravel as Wright reached his fifties and was overshadowed by architects of the international style. He seemed out of style, and the continuous scandal of his personal life portrayed him in negatively, causing his career and finances to suffer. Wright quickly moved on to Miriam Noel who he shared a short, violent, and turbulent marriage with. He didn’t wait long before impregnating Olgivanna Hinzenberg, a mystic and dancer from Montenegro.

Tragedy struck Wright yet again when Taliesin burnt down a second time due to an electrical fault in April of 1925. Luckily, the home was insured but he lost his entire art collection, which was valued at about half a million dollars. Once married, Olgivanna and Wright set up the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932 in which students paid to live there, study his holistic approach to design, and follow his daily routine. This unconventional education offered an entirely new view on Wright’s design and lifestyle, but his vanity made him difficult to work for. Entirely aware of his arrogance, Wright stated “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility; I chose honest arrogance.” 8

Wright’s bad publicity, bankruptcy, lawsuits, and tragedies of the 1920’s seemed to insure that his career was over. However, in 1936, Wright made one of the largest and most impressive comebacks in the history of architecture; Fallingwater. He managed to revive his career with this one revolutionary home, causing his popularity to skyrocket and securing him as one of the best architects in the world. Thanks to Fallingwater, Wright spent the next 25 years designing as many buildings as he had during his “busy period” from 1893 to 1911, such as the famous and memorable Guggenheim in 1959. He passed away in the same year but has forever left an impact on the world of architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright • 11


colophon created in 2011 Katherine Hughes’ Type II class at Massachusetts College of Art & Design designed in Adobe InDesign using Centaur MT Std in body text & P22 FLLW Exhibition Bold

12 • Frank Lloyd Wright

sources QUOTATIONS within text 1. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 8. 2. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 44. 3. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 32 & 40. 4. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 24. 5. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 20. 6. Wright, Frank Lloyd, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, & Gerald Nordland. “Part One, Ideas and Images.” Frank Lloyd

Wright In The Realm of Ideas. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988. 21. 7. Field, Marcus. “Architect of desire: Frank Lloyd Wright’s private life was even more unforgettable than his buildings.” The Independent. independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/ architecture/architect-of-desire-frank-lloyd-wrightsprivate-life-was-even-more-unforgettable-than-hisbuildings-1637537.html. 8. Field, Marcus. “Architect of desire: Frank Lloyd Wright’s private life was even more unforgettable than his buildings.” The Independent. independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/ architecture/architect-of-desire-frank-lloyd-wrightsprivate-life-was-even-more-unforgettable-than-hisbuildings-1637537.html. GENERAL INFORMATION Encyclopedia Britannica. “Wright, Frank Lloyd Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Frank Lloyd Wright, Social and Economic Impact.” Online 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/ pages/6404/Wright-Frank-Lloyd.html. • Scully, Vincent Joseph, and Wright, Frank Lloyd. Frank Lloyd Wright. New York: G. Braziller, 1996. Print. •



Frank Lloyd Wright, His Work Through His Sketches