G. W. Maher 1902 estate for sale

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peterm
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G. W. Maher 1902 estate for sale

Post by peterm »


SDR
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Post by SDR »

Maher here displays a collage of stylistic cues that might inspire a new term: Peculiatecture. He's got it all going on; the massive "crown molding" separating the walls from the roof, and now painted an allmost Howard-Johnson turquoise, lets us know we're in for some kind of treat. Inside, a portfolio of the fireplaces would make a dandy coffee-table book, all by itself.

Judging by this and at least some other examples of his work, one has to wonder how Maher came to be associated with Wright in even the most peripheral way. Granted, there are protomodernist moves here that would have pleased many, from Loos to Elbert Hubbard !

Hmm . . . maybe that's the connection . . . ?

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I agree, SDR, lumping Maher in with FLW and the gang is a stretch. Another term might be "Omniatecture." There's a bit of everything in that house ... although I didn't see a shot of the kitchen sink.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Omniatecture is better. A cavalcade of favorite moments from work Maher admired ? I wonder if any of the colors, aside from masonry, ceramic and natural (aged) wood surfaces, reflect the originals. Not those bright saturated paints, surely . . .

We perhaps have H A Brooks to blame for Maher's inclusion in the group; he shows or discusses twenty houses or other structures in his first book. We can't expect the realty contingent to identify original clients when promoting the work even of prominent architects; this is something like the Patten house of Maher, but . . . not. The earliest Maher residence Brooks illustrates is from 1896; an 1897 house has a pair of simple square windows on the second floor which might echo those of the first floor of the Winslow house . . .

SDR

PrairieMod
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Post by PrairieMod »

Maher and Wright worked alongside each other in 1887 in Silsbee's office...and there are a few examples of their work near each other in Oak Park...so maybe that's where the connection is established.

Maher's "Motif-Rhythm theory" approach to architecture vs. Wright's "gesamtwerk" approach in the Prairie period might also be a point of comparison, too.
Last edited by PrairieMod on Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

"As part of his design philosophy Maher developed what he called Motif-Rhythm theory in an attempt to produce a design unity throughout the building and its interior. This involved using a decorative element, often a local flower, a geometric shape, or a combination of the two which would be repeated throughout the design. Maher wrote that 'there must be evolved certain leading forms that will influence the detail of the design; these forms crystallize during the progress of the planning and become the motifs that bind the design together.' "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Maher

Readers of Wikipedia are invited to correct or otherwise edit entries. This one states that Maher never "worked for" Sullivan or Wright; while this may be literally true, it would be good if the article stated that Maher and Wright worked together for a time . . . ?

SDR

clydethecat
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Post by clydethecat »

SDR wrote:Maher here displays a collage of stylistic cues that might inspire a new term: Peculiatecture. He's got it all going on; the massive "crown molding" separating the walls from the roof, and now painted an allmost Howard-Johnson turquoise, lets us know we're in for some kind of treat. Inside, a portfolio of the fireplaces would make a dandy coffee-table book, all by itself.
Is that turquoise or verdigris?

As for association with Wright, I'd say it's due to propinquity.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Painted "verdigris," maybe; too even-looking to be actual verdigris, as I see it. Faded turquoise paint . . .

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

A few years? I think FLW worked for Silsbee less than a year, didn't he?
While FLW learned a lot from Silsbee, I don't see anything in Maher's work that proves he was awake during his time there.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

George Maher is very much a part of the prairie/chicago school - perhaps a closer look at his work would temper the critics.

I have to say I'm a little bothered by Wright vs. anyone else comparisons - its just someone else trying to design beautiful things in their own way.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

How boring it would be if every architect played by the same playbook.

I love this house. It seems like it would be easier to decorate than many Wright houses of the same period. I can picture an eclectic grouping of objects and furnishings from different time periods in this place, something that is not always easy in Wright's Prairie houses.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I didn't say that Maher was a bad architect, though this particular design is a sort of goulash of all sorts of influences; he simply is not in the same camp as FLW and such as Drummond, Griffin, Van Bergen, etc. I also think Charles Spencer and E. E. Roberts are a stretch. Roberts' work is closer to Maher than FLW. Spencer's McReady House (231 N. Euclid Ave., 1907) is one of the handsomest houses in Oak Park, bar none, even though it is not Wrightian at all. All of them have something interesting to contribute.

PrairieMod
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Post by PrairieMod »

Roderick,

You're right--"years" should be "in 1887" -- I'll correct that.

Wright was collaborating with Silsbee in 1886 on his family's Unity Chapel near Spring Green and was then in JLS's office in 1887 with Maher, Elmslie, and Corwin (jumping briefly to the firm of Beers, Clay, and Dutton and then going back to Silsbee) before going to Adler & Sullivan in 1888.

This pre-Adler & Sullivan period of time, the individuals he worked with and for, and its influence on the young FLLW is an area of Wright scholarship that needs way more attention given to it.

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