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Frank Lloyd Wright and the Three Golden Ages
September 4 - December 19, 2009

Original design and presentation drawings and blueprints from all the major periods of Wright's long career


The career of Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most magnificent of any architect's 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 York's Guggenheim Museum is the most famous result of that form. 

ArchiTech Gallery has assembled original drawings and plans that showcase each of Wright's Golden Ages.  1907 and 1915 design drawings for important Prairie Houses will be exhibited with his 1910 Wasmuth lithographs from Berlin.  Original blueprints from Racine's 1936 Johnson Wax building and its 1945 Research Tower along with vintage photographs of Arizona's 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.

flw windmill

Notes on the Exhibition:

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Three Golden Ages
September 11 - December 19

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 Wright's 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 Wright's death.   Hmmm.

I still owned a large collection of vintage photographs, from early Prairie prints to Guerrero's images of Wright's 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, there's always a rich selection of Wasmuth lithographs from the Prairie years.  If we added those to my client's  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?

We would just have to see.

Link to Frank Lloyd Wright "Drawings" Essay

Link to Pedro Guerrero's Biography

Link to Picturing Wright, the photographs of Henry Fuermann and Sons

Link to Frank Lloyd Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio

Click on image
to enlarge

flw Stone House
Frank Lloyd Wright
House For John C. Pew - Stone Option (detail)
Graphite and colored pencil on tracing paper  June(?) 1940 
Titled and identified lower left
Initialed and dated in red square chop
H:  13 1/2 x W: 28 inches

Taliesin West
Pedro Guerrero
Taliesin West  
Exhibition gelatin-silver print on mount 
Signed lower left recto, stamped, signed, titled and dated on verso
Neg: 1940  Print: 1983
H: 14 x W:11 inches

Taliesin East
Pedro Guerrero
Taliesin East  
Gelatin-silver print 
Titled and dated on label verso
Neg: 1940  Later print
H: 8 x W: 10 inches

flw windmill
Pedro Guerrero
Romeo and Juliet Windmill at Taliesin East
Gelatin-silver print
Identified on label verso
Neg: 1940  Later print
H: 10 x W: 8 inches

flw tower
Frank Lloyd Wright
East Elevation Research Tower for S.C. Johnson and Son,  Inc. (detail)
Cyanotype on heavy paper, 1945 (Blueprint)
Provenance: City of Racine Building Commission, Wisconsin
H: 36 1/4 x W: 46 1/4 inches (full sheet)

flw column
Frank Lloyd Wright
Column Details for S.C. Johnson and Son,  Inc. (detail)
Cyanotype on heavy paper, 1945 (Blueprint)
Provenance: City of Racine Building Commission, Wisconsin
H: 36 1/4 x W: 46 1/2 inches (full sheet)

FLW Hunt House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Dwelling for Mr. Hunt  LaGrange, Illinois (Perspective, 1 of 3)
Graphite on tracing paper  May 9th, 1907
H: 11 x W: 12 inches 
Titled, signed and dated on 1st Floor plan
Three drawings in sale

FLW Gammage
Frank Lloyd Wright
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Graphite and Colored Pencil  on Tracing Paper, 10/30/59
Initialed and dated in red square chop
H: 10 1/2 x W: 36 inches

FLW Church
Frank Lloyd Wright
Church For Milwaukee Helenic Community (Annunciation Church)
Graphite and Colored Pencil  on Tracing Paper, 4/20/56
Initialed and dated in red square chop
H: 23 1/2 x W: 27 1/2 inches

Taliesen East
Pedro E. Guerrero
Taliesin East living room
Gelatin-silver exhibition print
Signed lower right recto
Stamped, dated and signed on verso
Neg: Circa 1950 print: 1983
H: 16 x W: 20 inches

FLW Guggenheim model
Pedro E. Guerrero
Early Model of Guggenheim Museum (detail)
4 gelatin-silver print contacts, 1953
H: 10 x W: 8 inches

FLW Church
Hedrich-Blessing
Fallingwater
Photographer: Bill Hedrich
Gelatin-silver exhibition print on mount
Neg: 1937 print: 1999
H: 15 1/4 x W: 19 1/4 inches

FLW Fallingwater
Hedrich-Blessing
Photographer: Bill Hedrich
Fallingwater (Tower)
Gelatin-silver exhibition print
Neg: 1937 print: 1999
H: 23 x W: 18 1/2 inches

FLW Church
Frank Lloyd Wright
Charles R. Perry residence
Graphite and colored pencil on tracing paper 1913
Square chop, Lower right no initials
H: 12 3/4 x W: 20 5/8 inches

FLW Goblin House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Plan for The Goblin Playhouse (detail)
Graphite and colored pencil on tracing paper, 1926
12 x 17 inches


 

David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654
312-475-1290
ArchiTechGallery@earthlink.net


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