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What would you do . . . ?

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:03 pm
by SDR
Except as noted, images and scanned text on this page © 2019 by ArchiTech Gallery

What would you do, if you found that an art gallery was offering for sale a drawing supposedly belonging to the Tahoe Summer Colony project, a drawing
said to be in an unknown hand but bearing a red square with Wright's initials on it, a drawing with a provenance of sorts, and a drawing which, on even a
cursory inspection, is clearly not of the quality expected of and demonstrated by any drafter whose work for Wright has been published in the last century ? ... rspect.htm

There is so much wrong with this sheet that one doesn't know where to begin.

Compare the left and right-hand subsidiary roofs: the left one is symmetrical, while the right-hand one is asymmetrical; the right-hand fascia of that roof
is longer than the left one.

Look at the line work to the boarded or shingled surfaces: the lines are not evenly spaced, as they reliably are in virtually every authentic drawing. The
stonework, the coloring of grass and trees, and the depiction of stained glass are all aberrant when compared to drawings from any period in Wright's

Finally, inspect the red square: it is hopelessly messy and irregular, the coloring perhaps done to suggest age or wear, the lettering partially erased, the
cross-stroke of the F done in two disconnected passes.

This is no sketch; it mimics the style of a finished rendered perspective like many others made for Wright's use and initialed by him, yet it is as crude as
the roughest of Wright's own preliminary sketches. Even the earliest published work of Wright's young sons isn't as incompetent as this sad effort.

The seller does not claim this sheet to be a work of Wright or of any other known drafter, yet the red square is described as "Initialed FLLW and dated
in red square chop lower right." And, despite looking in the large photo like something fresh from the drawing board -- the tracing paper white , the colors
bright -- the piece is said to have been recently conserved; a yellowed drawing is shown in support of this assertion.

To top all this off, the drawing, which pretends to be a version of the Shore Cabin type, with gabled rather than hipped attendant roofs, is labeled by the
gallerist "Fir Tree Cabin Perspective" ! And the online viewer is invited to inspect any portion of the drawing and the "chop" in close-up, via the device
provided. Such chutzpah . . .

So -- what would you do ? What if anything can or should be done to prevent this anomaly from being presented as a work belonging to the Wright oeuvre ?


Authentic "Shore Cabin" drawing:


© The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:26 pm
by SDR

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:52 am
by Craig
I would immediately contact all known admirers of Fred Wright. They will be delighted to see this.

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:35 am
by DavidC
Is it possible that it's actually a TAA drawing from their Nakoma Golf Resort Project?


Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:00 am
by SDR
Any question on this topic is reasonable to ask, certainly. Could this be a Taliesin drawing post-Wright, connected to a different existing project ?

Aside from the subjective and objective conclusions about the quality of the drawing, which would pertain whether the drawing was made before or
after 1959 -- and the obvious question, how could Wright initial a drawing made after his death -- one would ask "Would any TAA architect reach into
the Wright archive and select a completed design for a project other than the one on the table -- the Nakoma revival -- and make a near-copy of one
of Wright's Tahoe designs, rather than using the existing Nakoma material ?"


Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:34 am
by Roderick Grant
We have all learned from years of "Antiques Road Show" that forgeries abound, and the Keno twins are needed to sort it all out. What should be investigated is the ArchiTech Gallery itself. What kind of history does it have? Has it had any controversy in the past? etc.

FLLW would never have chopped a drawing as miserably rendered as this one. Nor would he have let such an incompetent delineator enter his office.

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:26 pm
by SDR
Forged Wright drawings, however, haven't appeared -- or at least have not been identified as such, have they ? Searching "forged Wright drawings" on Google today brings up . . . nothing.

It was amusing to me to observe the naive drafter, here, fall into a trap as a result, apparently, of failing to understand what he was copying. (It should be clear that he took as his model the known rendering of the Shore Cabin;
the similarities, right down to the placement of two textiles hung from the terrace parapets in precisely their original locations, is proof enough of that ?)

The errant drafter, in morphing Wright's twin hex-plan roof projections into gabled roofs, copied the outlines of the given roof forms, failing to note that the plan shapes of those hips are tipped back from the vertical; see black-and-
white plan drawing below. The resulting perspective view is thus distorted, with the far-right roof profile in particular failing to conform to the shape it should take as the edge of a sloping line on an implied vertical plane.




Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:23 am
by outside in
I think the best course of action is to contact the FLW Foundation. They really don't like this sort of thing and I think they would be happy to send the gallery a threatening note on an attorney's letterhead. Terrible drawings - I'm surprised that anyone would try to get away with this.

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:34 am
by SDR
Thank you, John; I appreciate that input. Is there an individual to whom I should address my remarks ?

Googling the named owner of the gallery brings up an architect in the D.C. area, and, eventually, this profile: ... een-years/

The online site has several pages of archived exhibitions and other material; the one concerning me is here:

In addition to the drawings already posted, the page linked below, from 2009, is the first in the chronology in which remarkable material appears.
There is the Pew drawing (with tinting not seen in a later view ?), a "Kindersymphonies" sheet, a line drawing of the Hunt residence in La Grange,
and two colorful sheets for the Grady Gammage and Annunciation Church commissions. I wish I could see these drawings at enlarged size . . . ... htm?wright


Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:50 am
by outside in
I would write directly to Stuart Graff at the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation. His email is You might mention to him that it’s on my recommendation. And thank you for finding this!

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:45 pm
by SDR
According to what is written, the gallery, in Chicago, was open for fifteen years beginning in 1999; nothing in the first ten years of shows appear out of place, from what can be seen in the online archive.

The "Postscript" to the "Burnham, Sullivan and Wright" page is of interest . . .


Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:19 pm
by PrairieMod

David Jameson operated the bricks and mortar ArchiTech Gallery and consigned these drawings originally.

I would address your questions to him first:

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:25 pm
by SDR
Note: Images (except as noted) and scanned text © 2019 by ArchiTech Gallery

See: ... v_plan.htm


(left) © 2019 by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and by MoMA





© 1994, Robert L Sweeney (“Wright in Hollywood," p 105), and by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation .....................................................................© 2019 by ArchiTech Gallery

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:19 pm
by SDR
On Wright's plan drawing, above left, the drafter has employed a split floor plan, a convention which permits the architect to show halves of two different levels of his building in lieu of making two separate drawings. The
conventional broken line, here at the centerline of the house, divides the two halves of the drawing. In the later copy or version, at right, the drafter has apparently misread the original and has made of Wright's split floor
plans a single asymmetrical level; in doing so he adds a non-existent partition in place of the dashed centerline, creating a bizarre layout. How would he have reconciled this result with the symmetrical elevation view on
the same sheet ?

On the second drawing, Wright's thin lines denoting the hips and valleys of the roof have become a couple of random diagonals without meaning.


Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:19 pm
by JChoate
there's something about those beady little gables that makes me nervous