Edgar Tafel interview

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PrairieMod
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Edgar Tafel interview

Post by PrairieMod »

I posted a link to an Edgar Tafel radio interview that was broadcast originally on WDUG Pittsburgh on www.PrairieMod.com yesterday. It's interesting to hear him dispute Franklin Toker's notion of how he supposed Wright to work on projects. Take a listen and see what you think. It would be interesting to hear other people's thoughts on the subject.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

What a wonderful interview. Personally I think that FLW explored ideas on paper in sketch form prior to EJ's visit. FLW just chose to keep that to himself. Nonetheless what FLW did was utterly amazing. I also admire the resourcefulness of Edgar Tofel and his cohort.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

rgrant

Post by rgrant »

I got the impression from Toker's book that he decides what to believe and then backs into arguments that support his contentions, much like Brendad Gill. Toker has an agenda, and FLW (and Kaufmann, Sr) is the hapless catalyst; there is no serious analysis nor credible history in the book. Tafel was not only there, he was very observant and had as clear an understanding of FLW and his architecture as anyone.

DamiensGreve
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Post by DamiensGreve »

One thing for me about Tafel, from what I've observed from reading his books and seeing him speak, is that he has taken advantage of the myths as much as anyone. That doesn't mean he isn't telling the truth, but I approach what he writes and says with a healthy skepticism. I would just like to put that out there.



He's also gotten to the point, in his mid-90s, where I think the stories he has told over the years have become his memories, whether they occurred the way he relates them or not; or whether or not they happened to him as opposed to someone else. That's not to pass judgment--would that we all were as spry as he in our mid-90s!

JimM
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Post by JimM »

Yes, Tafel et al were there, but no one was privy to Wright's private moments. I suspect a considerable number of sketches are long thrown out, for Fallingwater included.



He gestated ideas endlessly over and over in his mind every waking (and non waking) hour, but to think he didn't sketch or detail his thoughts on paper until "the moment" strains credulity. He was a compulsive designer, and even as good as he was, I believe pencil and paper were always part of the process. Eventually he just didn't want anyone to think he needed them.



Just because he didn't wake up Howe to flesh out every design, doesn't mean he hadn't put pencil to paper.

Richard

Post by Richard »

We are not dealing with a known or quantifyable entity here. Genius works in a much different way. A genius may just be a very highly functioning savant, but that is another story requiring discussions of neural pathways, brain morphology... all of which we don't have a clue about yet. The patterns of Wright's design, the progression of his ideas, the singularity of his focus, all point to a different level of thinking and visualization. Sure, there was junk at times which is also another issue. But I bet Wright could have easily spilled out his visions onto paper without the need for doodling. These were his visions. Howe et al. merely rooted him on. So, this may be a non issue. Undoubltedly, Wright could easily pulled off such a feat; with an eraser of course.

apboy2

Tafel at Fallingwater

Post by apboy2 »

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Tafel at a private reception near Buffalo three years ago. Not wanting to monopolize his time, I approached him with one simple question: "Did you have any idea what Fallingwater would look like before Mr. Kauffman called to announce he was on his way to Taliesin?"

His answer: "No. Not at all."

As other posters have correctly pointed out, things didn't necessarily happen the way Mr. Tafel recalls them. But I certainly wasn't going to challenge such a gracious, vital man with "evidence" to the contrary.



As the newspaper editor tells the Jimmy Stewart character (or the other way around) at the end of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": "When you know the legend and the truth, print the legend."

rgrant

Post by rgrant »

I don't find the idea that FLW avoided drawing until the last minute at all difficult to believe. I have found that once you put pencil to paper, concepts often become hard wired and unalterable, and the path may eventually lead to a dead end. It would not have been any more difficult for Wright to compose a symphony in stone and concrete than for Mozart to construct his masterpieces in one fell swoop. We are not dealing with ordinary people.

JimM
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:44 pm
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Post by JimM »

Rest assured I realize the significance of Wrights genius. Obviously he may have drawn up very little on paper, and often. He designed in his mind all the time.



However (although it would not surprise me otherwise either!), I would still assume his never revealed "method" was probably not exactly as it appeared, or as he wanted it to appear. We'll just never know for sure.

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