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In Curtis Besinger's 'Working with Mr. Wright', he writes that "while some houses came almost completely from Wright, others were derived from earlier designs and still others were designed by senior apprentices, subject to Wright's changes".
Apprentice John Geiger states, "the last ten years of his life he was very much involved with the Guggenheim and that was his goal, to get that building built. A lot of other things fell by the wayside. By 1949 or 1950 he was very little involved in the houses except for special cases." He adds a recollection quoting FLlW as saying that sometimes a design issued from his studio "without benefit of clergy."
I'd be interested in others input on this subject.
I tend to believe there is evidence determining which houses may not be "genuine" (beyond the obvious), and also that having the control to do so, Taliesin has (incorrectly) deemed many good enough to be attributed to Wright.
If true, it does not change the fact there are questionable attributions, which I felt long before being aware of the degree of apprentice involvement in later houses. The list most likely includes most of the remodels, and others that look more like later TAA houses and others "designed" since Wright died.
It is likely Wright was involved to some degree, if only to sign his square. As Ed points out, at his age and considering all the pressure and difficulties with the museum, many designs slipped by that were regrettable, probably to Frank more than anyone!
is one of those latter day "special cases" of heavy Wright involvement
with a residential commission: if there was ever any real doubt. Here
we get the story of Wright, at the height of his powers, working with the
ideal clients to produce the ultimate organic jewel.
The mention of the Palmer's teenage daughter, Mary Louise, dancing to
rock music, presumably Elvis, in that wonderful living room brings the
house to life and puts a smile on my face. The picture of Wright chowing
down on corn-on-the-cob does the same.
Definitely one of the best of the individual house books and a must have
for any Wright fan's library.
Taliesin was a school, a one room school. A one room school that had to earn money to keep the lights on.
Apprentices of different ages and experience levels in drafting, building, and working with Wright.
Wright was an aged teacher...think "been there done that".
So many Usonians were sited on lots that didn't offer challenge that commanded his interest. Usonians were houses not mansions that could be playgrounds of the mind.
Very important is the fact of the owner-built process. The finished structure has to be related to the actual Taliesin plans. Was the building faithfully executed as an organic whole, with or without an apprentice on-site? Tafel remembers the admonition Wright said to Howe about too much detailing on working plans. (Paraphrased, I don't have attribution at my finger tips) It was " Any good carpenter will know what to do."
I am actually very interested in these decision- making moments in the life of a house building project. When is an uninformed or unconsidered choice made just to get the job done, to move into the house, to quit paying rent elsewhere. When is a decision made out of sheer ignorant visual thinking? When is a decision made that fails to flow with the organic vocabulary, due to an insensitive or arrogant imposition of a different aesthetic will?
Palli Davis Holubar wrote:When is an uninformed or unconsidered choice made just to get the job done, to move into the house, to quit paying rent elsewhere. When is a decision made out of sheer ignorant visual thinking? When is a decision made that fails to flow with the organic vocabulary, due to an insensitive or arrogant imposition of a different aesthetic will?
Obvious answer... too often. Which is why some question the occasional attribution, and is also one of the most fascinating aspects of Wright; that by shear force of will he completed so many unique buildings, that even today with benefit of recent architectural history and a more widespread appreciation of design, would be astounding for almost anyone.
For example, the perforated screens at the Weltzheimer-Johnson House (1948). They aren't the "Wright" ones, but they do not destroy the power of the space, the joy of the dancing light and shadow. We will never know how the original Wright/Taliesin perforated screens would have played with light and shadow; but the Weltzheimer/Ted Bower "kitchen table" collaboration design does not corrupt the whole sense of the House.
Palli Davis Holubar wrote: the Weltzheimer/Ted Bower "kitchen table" collaboration design does not corrupt the whole sense of the House.
Ted lives nearby, and we've talked about Westheimer (and his distain for his Taliesin experience!), but he never mentioned his part in the screens; I'll have to ask him about that. His own small home is delightful.