Article: The origins of FLW's Cherokee Red

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

https://www.google.com/search?client=op ... 8&oe=UTF-8

Wright's specification of finish to metal sash components (including putty of same)---spray-finished with Duco "Cherokee Red" paint (substance unspecified, apparently ?)---at both Willey and Fallingwater (if not in that order?)---is of interest.

Quite a lot of masking to be done, if either of the two coats were to be applied in situ ? Spray-finished window putty ? De-Luxe . . .!

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

What a pleasure, to encounter an owner and restorer who produces a body of research and study, beginning at his own doorstep (as it were) and expanding outward from there.

We are all enriched. The depths of Cherokee Red are plumbed as never before, here. And this is only the tip of the iceberg; go through nine other parts of the Willey story, bottom of page.

I'll have to find a photo of the Willey kitchen, to locate that luscious corner with two-way coved lino and clear-finished cypress that's the initial illustration to Mr Sikora's generous essay . . .

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

For the purposes of cross referencing, a Chat thread about Cherokee Red origins that speaks to the paint color offered by Oldsmobile:

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... 83af2dfd38

a notable quote:
A recently published book by Richie Herink "The Car is Architecture" about FLLW's cars, seems to document through correspondence in the FLLW Foundation Archives the origin of the Cherokee Red paint that Wright liked so much.

According to Mr. Herink's book, a letter written by Eugene Masselink in 1935 document's Wright's request to an auto dealer for a car to be painted to match the color of a 1935 Oldsmobile Wright had seen while driving past an Oldsmobile dealership.

The following is a link to a website that lists historic car color names and codes that provides the relevant information:

http://www.paintref.com/cgi-bin/paintde ... okee%20Red

...apparently Oldsmobile was the first, but not the last, car company to offer a color named Cherokee Red. It would appear from further searching on the paintref site that they are all different colors, but based on the citation in Herink's book, the 1935 Oldsmobile color #108 Cherokee Red manufactured by DuPont, #246-30986 is what Wright originally saw, liked, and requested.
I've noted before that the original paint found on the Sweeton exterior door and window sashes was a spot on match to Benjamin Moore PM-15 "Cottage Red", a color that has been offered for decades, which looks to my eye as close to the Oldsmobile color...I'd love to do a chip to chip match just for fun.
https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/col ... olor=PM-15

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Perhaps the most helpful and relevant aspect of Steve Sikora's essay is the revelation (or confirmation) of the fact that "Cherokee Red" meant different
things to Mr Wright, from day to day or at least from year to year---and that the various sources of the color, from suppliers of numerous materials and
objects, modern and historical, would have nudged his hand in that regard, in any event. That there are three reds in use at Fallingwater, for instance, is
useful evidence of this fact.

Among many other bits of information found in the piece is the news (to me) that Jacobs I was completed with an uncolored floor, and that only during the
restoration of the 'eighties (do I have that right ?) did a new slab receive the signature Colorundum treatment . . .

S

SpringGreen
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Jacobs I floor

Post by SpringGreen »

I had been told by someone (who was a graduate student in AH while Prof. Dennis was restoring the house) that evidence pointed toward the fact that the concrete floor had no color. The fact that it didn't have color until Prof. Dennis did the restoration is a conundrum but, man! the fact that the correct color was created not only from the business that was originally slated to do it, but which had the correct formula, makes this change really compelling.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Indeed ! The Colorundum conundrum has vexed many a Wright owner-restorer. We've devoted some space to the subject, here, in the past . . .

S

SpringGreen
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Cherokee Red

Post by SpringGreen »

Steve Sikora's statement about the shades of red confirms what I've picked up on over the years, that there was no, one, Cherokee Red.

At one point, I did screenshots of various reds that we call Cherokee Red & there were at least 7 different shades. Of course, as Steve Sikora noted: the exact same formula of red is different on concrete, cloth, a catalog, computer screen, et al.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

JimM
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Post by JimM »

It should be noted that while the many iterations of "Cherokee Red" evolved over time and from project to project (as with everything Wright!), it's origin for all applications-most notably renderings, stationary, etc-is based on the always red artists seal found on the wood block print. Interestingly, the seal was likewise subject to changes over the life of the print artist at times including family crests, studio crests, family names or emblems. Regardless of actual color, Wright used the color and seal from early in his career for the same contextual purposes.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes. You speak of Japanese woodblock prints in particular, I take it ?


Image

JimM
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Post by JimM »

Oh... of course!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The use of red in graphic design and publishing---in typography, that is---should be kept in mind, in this context. Many will recall books they have
seen or read in which a bit of red ink appears among the sea of black, perhaps limited to the title page. This usage has a very long history, I believe.

(By pleasant happenstance, SaveWright has chosen to present itself, and here at Wright Chat, in similar livery. Bravo red ! I've long forgotten the
previous colorway . . .)

I checked a favorite reference, The Arts and Crafts Movement in America (Princeton, 1972), to see what examples might be offered in the section
"The Arts and Crafts Book." Susan Otis Thompson writes that William Morris's Kelmscott Press offered the prototype of the American product:
"An emphasis on craftsmanship often led to a limited edition of numbered, signed copies, produced by hand methods, with heavy inking and
impression . . . Crisp, white, laid paper with deckle edges provided a proper background for the extremely black ink and the frequent use of red ink
for display . . ." Indeed, of the 27 illustrated examples of such books published in America which are given, 14 are printed in red and black. Among
her examples is Gannett, Winslow and Wright's "The House Beautiful":

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/wrights-beautiful-book

Image



Image

And of course we can't forget Mr Wright's lifelong favor of red for in-house typography, nor indeed for books like the Autobiography,
"The Natural House," or "A Testament, all of which had red, white and black jackets and the red square prominently featured on the
binding and the title page.





A collectible modernist furnishing site centered in Brussels, Design Addict, originally had a logo composed of black (or gray) and red. When the site
changed hands, the new owners substituted that with their own effort (see far right, below). In response I proposed (informally) alternatives that paid
a bit more homage both to the original and to its Swiss graphic movement roots (bottom). These were simply enough made, using the basic graphic
tools found in Apple's TextEdit app.



Image . . . . . Image


Image
Last edited by SDR on Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Don't miss this, from the previously-linked page:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/uuworld/s ... 591126231/


S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Some of the versions of Cherokee Red are a bit too blue for my taste. I prefer the color of a Rome tomato, basically red tending toward red-orange, with a touch of sienna.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
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Post by SDR »

Apparently, we can have our pick, and still call it Cherokee. Wright's red square above is too "red" to be called Cherokee, wouldn't you say ?

The whole thing makes a complex and wondrous story . .

S

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