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"When I was 11 years old I was sent to a Wisconsin farm to learn how to really work. So all this I saw around me seemed affectation, nonsense, or profane. The first feeling was hunger for reality, for sincerity. A desire for simplicity that would yield a broader, deeper comfort was natural, too, to this first feeling. A growing idea of simplicity as organic, as I had been born into it and trained in it, was new as a quality of thought, able to strengthen and refresh the spirit in any circumstances. Organic simplicity might everywhere be seen producing significant character in the ruthless but harmonious order I was taught to call nature. I was more than familiar with it on the farm. All around me, I, or anyone for that matter, might see beauty in growing things and, by a little painstaking, learn how they grew to be "beautiful." None was ever insignificant. I loved the prairie by instinct as itself a great simplicity; the trees, flowers, and sky were thrilling by contrast. And I saw that a little of height on the prairie was enough to look like much more. Notice how every detail as to height becomes intensely significant and how breadths all fall short. Here was a tremendous spaciousness needlessly sacrificed, all cut up crosswise or lengthwise into 50-foot lots, or would you have 25 feet? Reduced to a money-matter, salesmanship kept on parceling out the ground, selling it with no restrictions. Everywhere, in a great new, free country, I could see only this mean tendency to tip cverything in the way of human occupation or habitation up edgewise instead of letting it lie comfortably flatwise with the ground where spaciousness was a virtue. Nor has this changed much since automobilization has made it no genuine economic issue at all but has made it a social crime to crowd in upon one another."
Did Wright speak earlier about the desire, so clearly seen in his work beginning with the Prairie houses, for the "long and low" ? The above words are the only ones I know from his hand, about this vital and intrinsic aspect of the work.
In today's newspaper appeared these manufacturers' photos of current automobiles.
The wish for the cars to appear long and low is revealed in the intentional distortion of
the photographs, evident and obvious in the wheels, which are measurably elliptical
rather than round.
This trick dates to the nineteen-fifties (when car customizers were actively pursuing in
the flesh what the advertisers were imagining on the page) and seems to have been
My question is: What is the attraction of objects like houses and cars in which the height
is suppressed and the length exaggerated ? Is this a twentieth-century phenomenon,
and if so was Frank Lloyd Wright a pioneer of this vision ?
Like the bodies in the (new age foam) mattress commercials, the lay of the mattress and body are one. When the structure grows organically over the ground contours it burrows in becomes one with the ground mass.
Sensual without being confined to the curvaceous "stereotype *" body (be it car, toaster or woman). It is the universal sensuality of human flesh at repose, muscles relaxed.
My presentation is quite faithful to the reproduction in the book; it is enlarged here by perhaps 8% (the book measures 8 1/2" w x 9"h). The only identification given is as quoted.
H-R Hitchcock, "In the Nature of Materials," lists the following (p 114): 1904 Project: house, name unknown, HIghland Park, Ill.
The Mosher House is an example from an exhibition because a "version" of the design was built, unsupervised, in Wellington, Ohio. My reading of the FLW plan and the built structure: The building is an edited plan, essentially discarding the most of the distinctive features that Chicago clients (discerning ones, at least) could understand but not Wellington citizens. TWO:
Interesting observations, certainly. I've pondered the same issues. Who knows why Pfeiffer selected this drawing. Maybe Olgivanna liked it ? (She is given credit as "supervising" BBP's editing of the extensive Wright chronology at the back of the book.)
I can imagine it, matted, in that early exhibition. The drawing might look better in reality; it's listed as "Pencil and brown ink on opaque paper." The size (despite the appearance of a full sheet here, with pencil note at the very bottom) is given as 12 1/2" x 17 1/8". There appear to be pin-holes in the upper corners; the file number has been placed above the notes on the left. Perhaps the sheet extends downward from the image as shown.
What is the date of Mosher ? (I have only Monographs 5 and 6.)
One problem with the you-know-what [lest the Conservancy's software bowlderize me] explanation is that it doesn't account for why the look didn't come along until well into the 20th century.
I agree with SDR that the drawing is not an especially masterful siting job. It's a flat-lot house imposed on a slope with intrusive retaining walls. In an actual building, with stucco color against vegetation, this would be even more conspicuous. It's preferable to bulldozing the top of the slope off as many builders would do, but it doesn't show the mastery that came later, e.g. with Taliesin or La Miniatura.
This illustration was also published as Plate 15 in "The Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright", Arthur Drexler, Published by the New York Museum of Modern Art by Horizon Press, New York, copyright Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 1962. Library of Congress Card Catalogue number 62-11236. (identifyng information says it is 12 1/2 " x 17 1/8 " pencil and brown ink on opaque paper. Taliesin catalogue number F 0501.01.)
This book was the catalogue for an exhibition, The Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright, at MOMA from March 14, 1962 - May 6, 1962. The Introduction states that illustrations were selected by Arthur Drexler, Director of the Department of Architecture and Design at MOMA and Wilder Green, Assistant Director. They thank Mrs. FLlW for access to the Taliesin archives but there is no intimation she had any role in selection of images. It credits Wilder Green with final selection.
The Mosher House is also listed in "Complete List of Works by Frank Lloyd Wright" by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, an unillustrated list published in "Frank Lloyd Wright Architect", Robert McCanter, Phaidon Press, London, 1977. ISBN 07148 38543. It is identified as "Mosher. PR (project) # 0210. Residence.