The exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright Textiles: The Taliesin Line, 1955–60, curated by Amelia Peck, Marica F. Vilcek Curator of Decorative Arts in The American Wing and Supervising Curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 20, 2019. It features the renowned architect's first commercial venture, in 1955, creating affordable home products for the general consumer. Printed and woven textiles, wallpapers, and mahogany vases from the line, many of which were recently acquired for The Met collection.
Urged on by the editor of House Beautiful magazine, Elizabeth Gordon, Wright agreed to design a line of fabrics and wallpapers for F. Schumacher and Co., furniture for Heritage-Hendredon, paint for Martin-Senour, rugs for Karastan, and accent pieces made by Minic Accessories. These designs were featured in the November 1955 edition of House Beautiful, which was completely devoted to Wright and his work. Of the five lines, only the textiles and wallpapers, furniture, and paint were ultimately produced.
The designs for the fabrics and wallpapers were based on Wright's architectural vocabulary and inspired by specific buildings, photographs of which were included in the Schumacher sample book, of which only 100 copies of the sample book were printed, and these were available only to authorized dealers. To help create the designs, Wright enlisted his apprentices, members of the Taliesin Fellowship, and one apprentice, Ling Po (1917–2014), was credited with the designs of several of the printed textiles. All were made "under the direction and supervision" of Wright. All of the pages have been newly photographed and can be viewed on The Met's website for the first time, as can all 29 pieces of Wright fabric that are in The Met collection.
In conjunction with this exhibition, there is an installation in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Galleries, Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for Francis and Mary Little, on view through July 28, 2019, with a second rotation of works on view July 30–November 12, 2019. Inspired by the recent acquisition of drawings, blue prints, building specifications, and letters that add to the existing archive at the Museum, this installation explores the working relationship with Wright's patrons Francis and Mary Little. The architect built two houses for the Littles—in Peoria, Illinois, and Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. A total of 34 works on paper related to the Little commissions will be shown, ranging from Wright's iterative sketches to monumental and highly detailed presentation drawings. Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for Francis and Mary Little is curated by Femke Speelberg, Associated Curator, Drawings and Prints.
While at the Met, explore the Living Room from the Francis W. Little House, 1912–14, in galley 745. A permanent installation at The Met since 1982, The Frank Lloyd Wright Room was originally the living room of the summer residence of Frances W. Little, designed and built between 1912 and 1914 in Wayzata, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The room epitomizes Wright's concept of "organic architecture," in which the building, setting, interior, and furnishings are inextricably related. More information here.
Wright in Wisconsin is seeking volunteer tour guides for its annual Wright and Like fundraising house tour. This year’s tour, "Along the Shore," is on Saturday, June 8. The event includes a total of eight homes in the communities of Oostburg, Manitowoc, and Two Rivers. The tour showcases the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and “like” architects in Madison, Milwaukee and other Wisconsin locations. Architectural gems of the Manitowoc/Two Rivers area are included for the first time on this tour.
The basic tour guide responsibilities are to point out architectural features as listed in talking points provided by Wright in Wisconsin, and to direct people moving through the house. While tour guide experience is helpful, it’s not essential. The time commitment is a 2.75-hour shift and in exchange for service, volunteers receive a free ticket to see the other sites on tour that day. The tour lineup and more information here.
The sale of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Booth Cottage in Glencoe to new owners closed on May 9. The sale price was reported as $555,000. Owned by the same family for the last 60 years, the Booth Cottage was built in 1913 as temporary housing for the Booth family while their permanent home, also currently on the market, was built nearby. The structure was moved from its original location shortly after the Booths moved into their permanent house and has had a number of additions. It is an early example of Wright’s efforts to develop a low-cost house, and a number of elements similar to Wright’s Usonian houses can be found in it.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has worked with the seller since the cottage went on the market in fall 2017 to raise awareness of the significance of the building and to find a preservation-minded buyer. The Conservancy has reached out to the new owners though their real estate agent, and are hoping for a beneficial conversation with them about the importance of preserving the Booth Cottage.
“Public records do not yet identify the buyers. However, the agent who represented the buyers, Honore Frumentino of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Koenig Rubloff, said she could not comment on their identity or plans for the cottage. Asked if the buyers plan to demolish the cottage, Frumentino stated only that ‘I don’t think they know yet. It’s a challenge because of the way (the cottage is) placed on the property." More here.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Heller House, and whose current owners first put it up for sale in 2012, will be listed again after about two years off the market.
Wright designed the house for Isidore Heller, a partner in a butcher supply firm, and his wife, Ida Heller. Completed in 1897, it’s a long, slender house with its living spaces laid out front to back. Outside, Wright wrapped the top with a frieze that depicts 96 female figures, usually referred to as maidens.
Inside, Wright created a wall of two-story art-glass windows, gave the living and dining rooms large side “niches” that make it easy to use either a large space or a small one within the room, and specified that the interior colors should evoke the earthy shades of “a swirl of autumn leaves,” according to Emily Novick, who, with her husband, Steve Goldstein, has owned the house since 2004.
“It’s our piece of art we’ve lived in,” she said. Fifteen years go, they moved in with their three kids, who are now grown. Over the course of the next eight years, before putting the house on the market the first time, Novick and Goldstein made many improvements to the infrastructure, including adding a new roof and updating the furnaces and electrical wiring.
They and previous owners have faithfully restored and maintained the home—there’s even a framed space on one wall that shows original paint that was unearthed in renovations and demonstrates that the current color on that wall is a perfect match. In the two years they’ve had it off the market, Novick and Goldstein have done projects they had previously postponed, including extending air conditioning to all parts of the house and updating the elevator that Wright included in renovations for the original owners in 1909. See it here.
Mark your calendars, Frank Lloyd Wright fans! Visitors are welcome at the Wright-designed Auldbrass Plantation in the Yemassee area only one weekend per year, and tickets will go on sale to the general public May 31st.
Organizers of the annual tour weekend, which benefits the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, have moved the date slightly earlier this year.The tours will be Nov. 1 and 2, according to the land trust’s website. Tours will not be scheduled for Sunday this year.
Ticket sales for the general public will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 31. About 500 tickets will be sold for each day of the tours, and each ticket is $175. A link to buy tickets will be available at openlandtrust.org. Read more here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s education team recently partnered with an eighth grade class for a unique self-guided learning experience at Taliesin West. As part of a new pilot program for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Education Department, eighth grade students from Pinnacle Peak Prepatory School of Paradise Valley, Arizona led a tour of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and desert laboratory, for their families, teachers, and peers. Eighth grade teacher Danielle Else teaches an elective for seventh and eighth graders at Pinnacle Peak Prep that centers around Wright and his work, and this project was a great showcase of all they have been learning and studying in her class. Read more about this program here.
Buffalo has a well-deserved reputation among Frank Lloyd Wright fans mainly on account of the Darwin Martin House and the Graycliff estate in Derby. Then there are the three structures built in recent years based on drawings Wright left behind, many decades after his death. And soon there will be a fourth. That's where things get tricky. Is a project really a Frank Lloyd Wright work if designed for a different location, for a different time, and without his oversight? Find out more here.
Two St. Louis architectural gems will share the spotlight on June 9 when the new Hotel Saint Louis hosts a benefit for the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park.
The Kirkwood non-profit decided to hold its annual fundraiser at the hotel because of Wright’s connection to Louis Sullivan, the world-renowned architect of the 1893 Union Trust Building. The building has been meticulously restored as Hotel Saint Louis. Amy and Amrit Gill, owners of Restoration St. Louis, breathed new life into the endangered historic Union Trust Building at 705 Olive St. in downtown St. Louis when they purchased it in 2015. It is one of only 30 Sullivan buildings left in existence.
“It’s so exciting to have that tie with an old building that is developed into a new hotel property,” said Liz Gibbons, co-chair of the “Preserving What’s Wright” benefit along with her husband, Mike Gibbons. “There’s the tie between Louis Sullivan the architect and Frank Lloyd Wright, who was studying under him at the time the Union Trust Building was being built.”
The June 9 event at Hotel Saint Louis will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $125. More information here.