Robie House webinar

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SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Robie House webinar

Post by SDR »

Some will have missed this video, linked for readers of Wright Society newsletter #224, published this week. Thanks once again to Eric O'Malley and friends for their service to matters Wrightian !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?utm_campa ... htSyuV6UwU

Viewers will have the chance to see and hear noted restoration architect Gunny Harboe and historian Kathryn Smith, both of whom are closely associated with Wright studies and the conservation of Wright properties, as they address the history and the recent restoration of the Robie house in Chicago.

S

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Robie House webinar

Post by Roderick Grant »

A quibble with the current state of things: There are historic photos showing the Robie couch located where it is now, one from 1916 when the second owners had all the original furniture, but I know of no photos from the Robie occupancy ... brief as it was. If FLW had ever seen it thus, he would have lifted the thing himself and moved it where it belonged. The fireplace has that built-in bench projecting from it, and now there is the couch placed in alignment with it. Bad design. The couch was intended to be placed crosswise near the west end of the living room, and with or without proof, that's where it should rest.

If that detail was addressed in that long video, I have yet to find time to sit through the entirety.

JimM
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:44 pm
Location: Austin,Texas

Re: Robie House webinar

Post by JimM »

The video contains a booklet of photos by Fuermann taken in 1910 during the Robie occupancy, which ended in 1911. Interestingly, the two taken from each end of the living room appear to indicate the couch was not yet in place upon major completion.

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Robie House webinar

Post by SDR »

The davenport evidently was among the last pieces of furniture to be delivered to Robie. Frederick Robie dealt directly with Niedecken after Wright's departure---which occurred very soon after Niedecken's meeting with Wright about the Robie and May commissions (which were underway concurrently). The davenport was among the second batch of designs to be presented to the client, all of it Niedecken's work, apparently. See text below, from Cheryl Robertson's second book on Niedecken. Note the line in the description of the davenport drawing, lower right : "Hold for future."

She writes that Mayer May was presented by Niedecken with a similar davenport design, which he did not elect to order. Unfortunately, none of the davenport drawings listed in her book (which accompanied an exhibition) are reproduced.

Someone has identified an earlier Wright chair with broad arms, which might have inspired the Robie and May davenports. I cannot recall either the client for such a chair, nor the person making the suggestion---which I came upon only recently. (Could it have been the narration in the Irving house video we saw recently, where Niedecken's furniture was briefly discussed ?)


Image

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Robie House webinar

Post by SDR »

Another revelation provided by the webinar is that the sand-plaster finish to the interiors at Robie was treated, originally and in the restoration where necessary, to a coloring of the exposed "aggregate"---the smooth grains of sand---by means of a brush (!) and some sort of paint. That is the last thing I could have expected---but Mr Harboe takes out a reading glass of some sort and puts it over the lens of his camera (a phone ?) to give the viewer an extreme close-up view of this finish. Remarkable . . .

S

DRN
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Re: Robie House webinar

Post by DRN »

It was my understanding that similar high lighting or contrast paint applied to the sand finish “peaks” in the plaster at the DDMartin house was accomplished with cloth wrapped wood blocks.

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Robie House webinar

Post by SDR »

That certainly makes more sense than a paint brush !

A PBS NOVA show, "The First Alphabet," currently running on some channels, shows something I'd not seen before: a method of inking a woodblock for printing using a pair of leather-covered, rounded padded pestles with a diameter of perhaps five or six inches, themselves inked and then played against each other to distribute the ink, before being applied to the carved block.

S

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