eBay: Letter from FLW to Marilyn Monroe & Arthur Miller

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Post by HenryWhiting »

I have spoken to some Lloyd-Jones friends and no one is aware of a great-granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright named "Carrie Wright", who supposedly lives in Scottsdale. A check of some of the other FLW Ebay letters finds her name listed. The Teater letter description says, "Signed by a relative." Of what authenticity or value (despite the claim by an 'appraiser' of $2,000) is it at that point?

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Post by SDR »

Exactly. The signatures on all of these pieces are remarkably similar; on a few can be found sketchy or insecure strokes, but I have not otherwise subjected
them to scrutiny. A characteristic of the signatures is a strong diagonal final stroke. It might be possible to locate a known genuine signature which could
have served as a model for this forgery. I am not aware of any published research devoted to analysis of Mr Wright's handwriting and signature(s); one
question would be how and in what ways if any did Wright's signature evolve over time---and what is a typical signature from the various periods of his life.

Does the signature we have on this piece accord with others, genuine ones, from the period claimed for this artifact ?


Posts: 19706
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Today's "Get Fuzzy" strip contains reference to art forgery, after a fashion.


For those not exposed to this comic, Bucky the cat, a scheming and scamming Siamese with permanently-back ears (indicating fear, anger,
or both, according to PetSmart) and a tendency to annoy others, is perpetually in need of funds. Owner Rob is wise to his reality-challenged
and reactionary roommate . . .


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Re: eBay: Letter from FLW to Marilyn Monroe & Arthur Miller

Post by wjsaia »

It’s that time of year again–meaning, of course, that it's time for another “Design Signature” auction by Heritage Auctions.

As for the Wright related lots–#s 67072 through 67083, it appears there is less apparently stolen material in this offering than we have seen in past HA auctions and no irreplaceable, original, uncatalogued drawings taken from Taliesin as seen in past sales. But, it’s not without interest.

Lot #67082 is presented by Heritage Auctions in an uncharacteristically incomplete manner. HA provides one image of a “signed” R. Ll. Wright house “plan,” a diazo print of the perspective view prepared for the first project scheme of 1953. The applied signature appears to be a forgery. Several things about this would strike one as fishy, including the failure of the middle bar of the “F” to extend to the right of the vertical stem of the letter. HA also offers us partial views of six letters, all of which appear to be bogus ones Wright never wrote, and this observation extends even to the seemingly fake stationery. The letters are reminiscent of the the phony Wright-signed post cards and the apprentice drafting set presentation we have seen offered in the past. As did those things, most or all of these letters contain one or more significantly weird things–misspellings like "Medesto" (sic), "splended" (sic), other typos, repetitions, phrases and cringe-inducing usage that would seem unimaginable for Wright to have written. Curiously, this lot is described as consisting of sixteen pieces of “signed” material–the drawing, three books, one magazine and eleven other pieces of ephemera, but HA gives us mostly partial views of only eight examples, every one of which shares in Wright's signature the uncharacteristic minimal extension of the middle bar of the “F” through its stem. It’s also interesting that, while we often have seen letters or cancelled checks with genuine Wright signatures (stolen or not) offered and selling for many hundreds of dollars and even well into four figures, this lot that contains 16 separate Wright signatures on 16 different pieces is estimated by the auctioneer to bring a realized sales price that calculates to only about $50 for each one. Maybe that is indicative of some degree of unstated acknowledgement that the signatures are not genuine. No provenance is even attempted to be stated by HA.

Not part of this current HA offering, this one has all the earmarks of another fakery concocted by the same forger. And, of course, all reading this thread know about the phony letter allegedly from Wright to Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. There is second one of those fake Wright-to Monroe/Miller letters kicking around, too.

Lot #67080 is rather intriguing to pore over. Curiously listed as plans for a "Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Kaufmann Residence, Pittsburgh PA” the drawings are clearly for a project solely for E. J., his name penned over the names of an earlier client, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Blackbourn of Minneapolis, MN. Bruce Pfeiffer explained this curiosity in Taschen Vol. 2, but he makes no mention of the use of glass tubing for fenestration at locations where one might have expected perforated boards. HA’s stated provenance for this and Lot #s 67081 and 67083 leaves open the possibility that the material in these three lots may have been stolen from Taliesin.


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