Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

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Steve Sikora
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:23 am

Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by Steve Sikora »

For more than a year, I've been researching Wright's red signature tiles. I have a verified list of over 60 tiles at this point, but am still searching for clear close-up photos of pre-theft red tiles from: the Lovness Studio, the Gordon House and the Sterling Kinney house in Amarillo, Texas.

I am also seeking images of red tiles from the Baker house in Wilmette, IL (now removed), the Iber house in Plover, WI, and the Lindholm house "Mantyla" (now moved to Polymath Park, tile not reinstalled).

Finally, I am looing for a photo of the red tile at the Unitarian Meeting House in Madison prior to 1960.

Your help would not only be be welcome, but would help inform the findings of this study, eventually to be shared in published form.

SREcklund
Posts: 813
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:24 pm
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by SREcklund »

Wow ... this is turning into quite the opus!
Docent, Hollyhock House - Hollywood, CA
Humble student of the Master

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Steve Sikora
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:23 am

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by Steve Sikora »

Stan, it has taken me places I never would have imagined. Unfortunately, I decided that if I was going to do this, I wanted to get it right.

Steve Sikora
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:23 am

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by Steve Sikora »

And by the way, I hold you responsible.

DRN
Posts: 3918
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by DRN »

In a previous thread, it was noted the tiles had two signature types: one with a small "swoosh" on the "W", and one with large "swoosh"...is it known which swoosh the missing tiles have?

In the interest of connectivity, I'm linking in Chat's infamous "Red Tile" threads and the latest iteration of Chat's collective "tile list":

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... t=red+tile
http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... t=red+tile
Updated List as of 12/16/11

1 Baker (1909)-Tile Added In 1958
2 Taliesin III (1925) *
3 Johnson Wax Administration Building (1936)
4 Hanna Residence (1936) *
5 Taliesin West (1937) *
6 Jacobs II Residence (1944) *
7 Walter Residence (1945) *
8 M,M. Smith Residence (1946) *
9 Unitarian Meeting House (1947) *
10 V.C. Morris Gift Shop (1948) *
11 Walker Residence (1948)
12 Kenneth Laurent Residence (1949) *
13 David Wright Residence (1950) *
14 Berger Residence (1950)-Tile Not Installed But Verified By "ekb"
15 Rubin Residence (1951)-Tile Not Installed But Verified By "dtc"
16 Kinney Residence (1951)
17 Austin Residence (1951)
18 FLW Field Office (1951)*-2 Tiles Installed
19 Price Tower (1952) *
20 Marden Residence (1952)
21 Lindholm Residence (1952)
22 Sander Residence (1952)
23 Riverview Terrace Restaurant (1953)
24 Dobkins Residence (1953) *
25 Price, Jr. Residence (1953)
26 Llewellyn Wright House (1953)
27 Arnold Residence (1954)
28 Price Sr. Residence (1954) *
29 Beth Shalom Temple (1954) *
30 Hagan Residence (1954) *
31 Tonkens Residence (1954) *
32 Fawcett Residence (1954)
33 Greenberg Residence (1954) *
34 Lovness Residence (1955)
35 Tracy Residence (1955)
36 Lindholm Service Station (1956) *
37 Guggenheim Museum (1956) *
38 Gordon Residence (1956)-Tile Stolen/No Longer In Place
39 Bott Residence (1956) *
40 Greek Annunciation Church (1956) *
41 Schultz Residence (1957)
42 Iber Residence (1957)
43 Marin County Civic Center (1957)*-2 Tiles Installed
44 Lockridge Medical Clinic (1958)*
45 Cass Residence (1959)
46 First Christian Church of Phoenix (1971)
47 AAG/FLW Exhibition In San Francisco (1980)

* = In the group photo pool

SDR
Posts: 18785
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by SDR »

Good work, Steve Sikora ! Are all the tiles mentioned in your initial post missing ? Are at least some of them said by owners to have been stolen ?

A valuable addition to the list presented here by DRN would be descriptions, primarily characterized by mention of the "swoosh" type found on each tile . . .?

S

Steve Sikora
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:23 am

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by Steve Sikora »

There are actually two distinct styles of signature, and then a third style category with considerable variation to it. The reason I so badly want to see every known tile is that by learning what signature types are associated to what buildings a pattern may emerge as to who made them and when. That of course is complicated by the fact that not all tiles have clear, dated provenance. Right now geographical distribution by type, does not show what I'd consider to be a strong, obvious pattern as to which tiles were distributed first. Although I do know which came last.

I will hold off publishing my list until I have more data.

DRN
Posts: 3918
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by DRN »

from this thread:
http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... ber#p68237
Just to add my two cents to this conversation. . . I remember watching my grandmother, Jeannette Haber, make these tiles. She poured wet clay into a plaster mold, which had the FLLW signature molded in reverse. When the clay was dry and hard, she cleaned up the signature, deepening it, and made it more legible.

She consulted with her sister Rose Pauson, my great-aunt, about glaze color. Rose was involved in creating that specific red glaze. Dad would have been the final quality control over which tiles left Grandma's ceramics studio and went to Taliesin.

There's some confusion among readers here about the line-up. Jean Haber Green was Aaron's wife and had nothing to do with ceramics, she was a physician. Jeannette Haber was the maker of the tiles. She happily did it as a favor to Mr. Wright.

By the photos on Ebay, I'd say that this tile, if its really one that Grandma made, would have been a reject. The glaze is too thick and fills the signature. For every tile that went on a building, quite a few went into the trash. It could have easily found its way into Berry's hands.

Berry Von Hungen was a kind, creative, gentle soul. He was a friend of our family as well as one of Dad's employees. Berry never had a negative word to say about anybody. A very sweet man.

Frank Green
...and from this thread:

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... ber#p47661
I don't remember much about the production of the tiles, but I remember seeing them scattered around my grandmother's (Jeannette Pauson Haber) workspace and that my father (Aaron Green) inscribed each tile with the FLLW initials. My grandmother made her own glazes and was a very good but not professional ceramicist. She had a small kiln, so I assume the tiles were not all fired in one batch, so there would be color variation.

Allan Green
and this one:
http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... ber#p93149
My understanding is that the clay for each tile was first packed into a mold. The "floor" of the mold had reverse raised lettering that was produced from original lettering layouts that Aaron Green provided to Jeanette Haber and which she followed in making the mold(s). Yes, there must have been at least two molds to account for the two styles of signatures, particularly with respect to their respective Ws and slashes, that one finds in the signatures. But each of the two apparent productions consisted of multiple batches.

When the packed clay would be released from the mold, there often would be variation in the sharpness of the lettering impressions in it. Mrs. Haber would often go over the impressed lettering with a stylus so as to incise it more deeply and sharpen or, in some instances we see, extend it, in anticipation that the applied glaze would later fill the impressions to some degree that may have been difficult to control. Thus, variations of lettering can be discerned from tile to tile even though they came out of the same mold, and this includes different positioning and/or depth of the periods one finds following the Fs and LLs in the signature. Jeanette Haber lived with the Green family in Los Altos and had her ceramics studio on the grounds of the little family compound, so it is understandable that Jeanette might have called upon Aaron to inspect batches of pre-fired tiles. One would thus expect that he also participated in doctoring up the incised impressions of the signatures and punch in periods in individual tiles. This might be the source of Allan Green's remembering his father signing the tiles; Allan would have been about 4 years old when the tiles were made.

I believe I have seen one tile that mistakenly sports a period between the two Ls.

I have pondered which style of signature on the tiles might have most pleased FLlW. I take note that next to the entrance door to Taliesin West's Garden Room is a tile with the smaller, straight slash, and I'm quite certain that was placed there under Wright's supervision. The one outside the entrance to the studio at Taliesin, having the curvilinear "swoosh," was not present when I was there in the 1960s, so, with its placement coming later, it tells us nothing as to FLlW's personal preference. I think most or all of the ones in California were probably given to clients by Aaron, including the two at Marin County Civic Center, and most or all of these have the curvilinear "swoosh." There are various interpretations one might draw from these observations. This all is deserving of someone's intensive research and perhaps a doctoral thesis, wouldn't you think?

WJS

Steve Sikora
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:23 am

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by Steve Sikora »

Thanks DRN,

I read all the previous threads on WrightChat on the topic of the red tiles, and followed up with the various commenting parties to construct a single coherent narrative. Which has been largely successful. What I still hope to accomplish is to locate the missing and or stolen tiles I listed at the beginning of this string. Once I can see those tiles, I'm confident that I'll be able to tell the whole story of the tiles. I'll explain the various types of signatures and tiles, explain how they were made, by whom, tell stories about how they were distributed and verify specific identifying characteristics of each tile, in the event others are stolen.I've also researched what has caused several of the tiles to fail and how. It's going to be an eye-opener.

SDR
Posts: 18785
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Seeking Stolen Red Tile Images

Post by SDR »

That will be a real contribution, Steve---as if you hadn't done enough already, magnificently restoring "the first Usonian" Willey, and documenting the process so fulsomely . . .

SDR

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