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For sale: W. Irving Clark House - La Grange, IL

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:38 am
by DavidC

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:45 pm
by Roderick Grant
This house didn't make the cut with Storrer until the Companion. It was originally thought to have been designed by E. Hill Turnock. But it is FLW. An article about the house appears in Thomas Heinz's Newsletter, chronicling it bona fides.

William Morris or not, I still hate wall paper, and would strip it from this house if I had the chance.

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:17 pm
by SDR
It may be Wright---but it's all wrong, for me. . . !

Honestly, if we didn't know whose name was on the drawings, would we look twice at this house ? For that matter, would Mr Wright, in his maturity ?

S

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:43 pm
by Roderick Grant
I am sure Mr. Wright, who gave the credit to Turnock, would distance himself from this house, as he probably would Furbeck & Furbeck, Goan, Wooley, G. W. Smith, Bagley and a few other 1890s houses.

Yet there is a slight relationship between FLW's Oak Park House and Clark in the overall massing, and the plan of the entrance porch emanating from the sides of the flanking bay windows is a detail not seen in architecture of the day. Trifling, true, but it looks like something FLW was using to advance his art, while at the same time dealing with the reality that he wasn't fully in charge of his bootleg career.

Another commission that befuddles the senses is the demolished H. W. Bassett Remodeling (1894; S 027). There is less there than at Clark. But one does what one must do under the circumstances.

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:43 pm
by SDR
We have a small variety of images of the Irving Clark residence---but none quite as disturbing as the Realtor.com ones:


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Could they be two different houses ? The second-floor window sets are horizontal rectangles in one view, vertical ones in the other !


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Image

© 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:14 pm
by Roderick Grant
As you can see, the real estate photo is distorted, making it look higher and narrower than it is compared to the Taschen photo.

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:24 pm
by SDR
Indeed---while in the first photo the house appears wider than in reality. Sort of a cosmic balance has been achieved, between the two photos ?

One wonders how these things can happen. Perhaps the photos were resized to fit a preordained space on a page, somewhere ?

On my television screen, broadcast material arrives in different formats; while a half-dozen aspect ratios are available on the machine, none of them corrects the image to its proper proportions in some cases.

S

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:13 pm
by Rood
Perhaps Mr. Wright did have something to do with that house design, but I find it hard to believe he had much to do with that convoluted plan. Four separate stairways? A Reception Room and and a same-sized Drawing Room?

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:36 pm
by SDR
Here's Storrer on the subject:


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© 1993 by W A Storrer

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:39 am
by PrairieMod
From the August 1894 Inland Architect, cementing Wright's authorship of this residence:

Image

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:41 am
by SDR
Thank you. And, in addition to the caption, we have, finally, visual evidence of a noble hand at work ? Wright takes the architectural elements of the day and demonstrates their potential; one would think that he was designing for a corner lot . . . !

S

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:57 am
by DRN
If you don't like it, blame it on Cecil!
Actually, if one looks at this house in comparison with houses by other architects of the era, there is an orderliness and attempt a geometric purity, to the plan, massing, and elevations that seems to go awry when in the hands of others.

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:08 am
by SDR
A master already in control of his medium ? I believe the double-tapered trim board at the base of a triangular gable could be found elsewhere in or on the
building stock of the period; young Mr Wright takes this as found, and deploys it in an amusing variety of forms, the height of the triangle growing with each
iteration, all leading to the major gables of the house itself ?

S

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:13 pm
by Roderick Grant
As Storrer points out, this was both a residence and a law office, which adequately explains the arrangement of the floor plan with its separate entrance for the commercial enterprise.

One thing the above floor plan doesn't show is that Mr. Clark's bedroom is above the reception room, while Mrs. Clark is relegated to the much smaller space over the kitchen, where most houses of the age banished the servants.

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:17 pm
by Roderick Grant
Not being a fan of late 1890s architecture, I don't know if it was a usual thing to design dormers of adequate size topped with a ton of roof. Is that something FLW was looking into, or just the practice of the day?