Frank Lloyd Wright and the Three Golden Ages
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
September 4, 2009 December 19, 2009
The career of Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most magnificent of any architects in history. It was so long and varied that historians have divided it into "Three Golden Ages."
The first was the "Prairie" period. Primarily consisting of residential designs, this period introduced a new American Modernism to the pioneers of European architecture who were the first to recognize Wright as a world class artist.
The Second Golden Age came with his 1920s California work and his revival into the American consciousness in the 1930s. His response, then, to the new "International Style" was the invention of his own version of rational building design that placed him and his drawing of "Fallingwater" on the cover of Time Magazine.
His Third Golden Age was his theatrical "Expressionistic" late period. New Yorks Guggenheim Museum is the most famous result of that form.
ArchiTech Gallery has assembled original drawings and plans that showcase each of Wrights Golden Ages. 1907 and 1915 design drawings for important Prairie Houses will be exhibited with his 1910 Wasmuth lithographs from Berlin. Original blueprints from Racines 1936 Johnson Wax building and its 1945 Research Tower along with vintage photographs of Arizonas Taliesin West will represent the Second Golden Age.
And, to represent the Third Age, original colored pencil renderings from the 1950s will be shown as well as vintage photographs of the earliest model and the exhibition pavilion of the Guggenheim Museum.
"Frank Lloyd Wright and the Three Golden Ages" opens in a commercial exhibit of original drawings, photographs and blueprints Friday, September 4th through December 19th, 2009.
Notes on the Exhibition:
This show is a real roll of the dice. I had planned to come up with a more low key (read low cost) exhibition that would have more entry level prices. A sort of "Greatest Hits" of ArchiTech that would recycle works from past shows. The last year and its financial meltdown had reset the market downward and I seem to want to stay in business.
But a funny thing happened on my way to raid the vault. A little background:
I have always had a few clients that, once bitten by the collecting bug, turned into connoisseurs themselves. One of them had turned into a vacuum cleaner of sorts, and, following my advice, began buying great drawings from around the country that threatened to turn him into an important collector. In the last few years, he would often show me what he was thinking about buying first, and, if my opinion agreed with his, spend real cash for acquisition and conservation.
Soon, his hoard outstripped his wall space. He still had the bug but had decided it might be a good idea to start parting with a few choice morsels so he could continue to buy. We came up with an idea. Maybe the market would be ready for a commercial show of Wrights drawings that ran the gamut from his early Prairie designs to his last works. Maybe.
It also occurred to me that 2009 was the fiftieth anniversary of Wrights death. Hmmm.
I still owned a large collection of vintage photographs, from early Prairie prints to Guerreros images of Wrights late work. And in that mix could be the Hedrich Blessing photographs that included the famous Bill Hedrich shot of Fallingwater.
In the flat files, theres always a rich selection of Wasmuth lithographs from the Prairie years. If we added those to my clients preliminary drawings and final renderings, the combination would make a pretty comprehensive, museum quality exhibition. But the prices set for his rare drawings in particular would test the market only a year after the worst of the recession hit. Was this the time?
Chicago had not been as badly affected as other cities but ArchiTech has a national clientele. The local market, surprisingly, is not consistent enough to keep the wolf from the door. Was it too early?