The Art Newspaper reports that Tefaf announced today that it was awarding €50,000 in grants to the V&A and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) through its Museum Restoration Fund for the conservation of a Frank Lloyd Wright interior and a painting by the 18th-century Bolivian artist Melchor Pérez Holguín.
The V&A will clean and restore Wright’s Kaufmann Office (1935-37), which retains its furniture, carpets, and upholstery minutely designed by the US architect in the Art Deco style. A commission from the department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, for whom Wright also designed his famous Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, the interior is constructed from swamp cypress plywood and cypress-veneered blockboard. Its most striking feature is a plywood relief mural that covers an entire wall behind Kaufmann’s desk.
The V&A hopes to gain insight into how the office was constructed. When the restoration is finished, the office will be installed at the V&A's new Collection and Research Centre, which is under construction in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the V&A East project. Read more here.
Patty Cordell, the great-granddaughter of Harvey P. and Eliza Sutton, recently shared the story about the Sutton house in McCook, Nebraka, which was designed by Wright in 1904 and saw her great-grandmother act as the general contractor.
“I am proud to be from a long line of strong-willed women. The house would never have happened without Eliza. She wanted the house built next door so that she could keep an eye on it,” Cordell said.
The Barnes’, friends of the Suttons, saw homes designed by Wright in The Ladies Home Journal and contacted him to design a home for them. Even though drawings were completed in 1903, the Barnes House was never built—but it did provide inspiration for Eliza.
Mrs. Sutton contacted Wright to design a home and began writing letters to him in Chicago discussing the plans, Cordell said. At first, she wanted to update and expand the Sutton’s existing home. After receiving the first drawing, Eliza wasn’t happy with it and decided they wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement, Cordell said. That is when Eliza asked for a second plan that would build a new home in the vacant part of their land.
“Some of it won’t do,” was Eliza’s response to the second design, Cordell said. The letter writing continued in the development of the floor plans, but no rendering exists of the outside of the house’s final design.
The home was completed in 1908. Wright visited the house one time and traveled from Chicago on the Burlington Northern railroad. Cordell said that he only stepped into the entrance of the home, discovered small changes that Eliza had made and left with a swoosh of his cape to never return again saying that his design had been ruined by changes in lights and corners of windows.
While the home is no longer owned by the Sutton family, Cordell and others continue to preserve the legacy while keeping the designs and letters within the family. After visiting the Antiques Roadshow, Cordell learned that the drawings accompanied by the original letters could be worth as much as $175,000.
The current owners, Van and Janet Korell, renovated and restored the home in 1991 and further in 2001. Including the Suttons, the house has had five owners and has been used as a doctor’s office, boarding house, and private home. More interesting facts about the home here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has introduced over 50 new products in collaboration with three new licensees. The collections are inspired not only by Wright’s architecture, but also his designs and his use of natural materials.
Former LEGO Master Builder Adam Reed Tucker recently debuted "The ATOM Brick" of Chicago, Illinois, offering a smaller scale interconnecting building brick kits, allowing design enthusiasts to create miniature versions of Wright buildings among other offerings. The first collection of Frank Lloyd Wright building kits include the Darwin D. Martin House, and two structures recently designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites: Taliesin West and Unity Temple. The kits, currently available for pre-order on theatombrick.com, retail for $74.99 to $149.99 and will ship in February 2020. A second collection is planned for Spring 2020 release, and will feature an additional five of Wright’s building designs, including several more of Wright’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Vancouver-based KONZUK, creators of architecturally inspired handcrafted concrete jewelry, introduces over 30 pieces of wearable architecture. Owner Karen Konzuk found inspiration in the foundational geometric forms and unembellished materials used in Wright’s architectural projects. Ranging from $90 – $275, the debut collection features necklaces, earrings, rings, and cuff-links. The items will be available at Wright venues, museum stores, and on konzukshop.com.
And as we have noted before, Classic Rug Collection, Inc. brings Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired rugs back to the marketplace for the first time in over 50 years. Barbara Barran, President of Classic Rug Collection, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, has created rug collections at two price points.
“We are delighted to reintroduce rugs to our Frank Lloyd Wright licensed home goods program,” said Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “When Wright launched his licensing program in 1955, rugs were a key component of the collection. With the 65th anniversary of our licensing program approaching in 2020, this is the perfect time to revisit his rug designs and introduce Wright’s reimagined rug designs to a new generation of design enthusiasts.” More information here.
One of the last homes Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed recently sold for $1.6 million. The 3,100-square-foot Norman Lykes Home is located on the edge of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. It was originally listed for sale for twice as much money last year. The house was completed in 1967 and its long, sweeping curvilinear lines compliment the desert hills it was built upon.
So, why can it be so difficult to sell architecturally significant homes like this? For more on that, KJZZ's The Show spoke with John Waters, preservation programs manager with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in Chicago. Listen to the interview here.
The Seth Peterson Cottage in Lake Delton is great for a special getaway in a historic Frank Lloyd Wright building. The cottage, designed by Wright in 1958, is one of the of only a handful of the architect's buildings available for public overnight rental.
Nestled in the lush woods of Mirror Lake State Park, the cottage embodies Wright’s iconic design style and connection with the natural world.
Cottage rental includes firewood and access to Mirror Lake and on-site canoe, paddles, and life preservers. From personal experience we know the cottage to be amazing. More here.
In Louis Sullivan’s view, the new style of urban corporate building “must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation.” Though he is often dubbed the “father of the skyscraper,” this probably gives him too much credit: There were contemporaries, and even a predecessor or two, who built similarly tall structures. And yet it was Sullivan who – through the force of his design and the apt articulation of his architectural ideas – emerged as the “father.” He had also been “the first to bring art and technology into something approaching a union,” contends Carter Wiseman in his American Heritage article “The Rise of the Skyscraper and the Fall of Louis Sullivan.”
Sullivan’s architectural philosophy was that “form follows function” – a mantra that became as sacred as scripture to many modern architects. Although Sullivan clearly sought to emphasize the functional over the aesthetic aspects of architecture, his style is somewhat difficult to categorize, as he also tended to make abundant use of decorations, including ones of a Celtic theme. More about Sullivan's life here.
The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland, Michigan is offering holiday tours on select dates throughout the month of December. Visitors to the National Historic Landmark can enjoy the Dow family’s original holiday decorations, plus cookies and cider.
Dow, who was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and son of Dow Chemical Co. founder Herbert Dow and Grace Dow, was a quiet, creative man. Hallmarks of his architecture include large windows that allow for plenty of natural light but also preserve residents' privacy, built-in furniture and multi-functional spaces.
He believed “something can be beautiful but function well” too, Craig McDonald, director of the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, previously said of Dow’s design philosophy. “His work was featured in every leading architectural magazine of the day.”
The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, located at 315 Post St. in Midland, offers tours year round. The guided tours last about two hours. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $7 for students ages 8 to 23. The tours are not open to children younger than 8 and reservations are required. Learn more about this and other events at www.abdow.org or call 989-839-2744.
It's almost the end of the year, which means it's time for the "best of" lists to start rolling out. ArchDaily has put out a list of what they consider to be their best articles of 2019. Included in this list is an article about Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Kahn—four of the most notable architects of the 20th Century. Read the article here to find out more about the creative process of these four leaders of the modern era, and why their projects and practices are still influential to our modern times.
Word reaches us from Mark Hertzberg that Ron McCrea, an award-winning journalist and author who served as The Capital Times’ city editor for a decade, passed away last Saturday at the age of 76.
In retirement, McCrea became a nationally-known author writing on and about Frank Lloyd Wright. His 2012 book Building Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home of Love and Loss featured new and original research. At the time of his passing he was at work on a follow-up volume, Monumental Women, about the women in Wright’s life. McCrea spoke about Wright’s life and work to numerous audiences, and was featured on several TV shows, including the E! Entertainment Network’s “Mysteries and Scandals: Frank Lloyd Wright.”
“Ron was one of the smartest and most versatile journalists I knew,” Cap Times editor emeritus Dave Zweifel said Sunday. “Not only was he an expert at his craft, he cared deeply about it, just as he cared deeply about everyone around him. He could write headlines like no one else. He was bright, clever, and fun. His passing leaves an enormous hole in our lives.” More here.