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Wright Exhibit at the Art Institute
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7328

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mono 4/196-8. BBP gives Spaulding the 1919 date. A letter FLW wrote is quoted about the commission, stating that the Spaulding connection began, at least, while FLW's practice was located in Orchestra Hall. What are those dates?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After returning from Italy -- so 1912 ? Presumably until the departure for Tokyo, 1916. Pfeiffer and others may be confused about the Spaulding project date because of the two returns from Japan, the first in 1913 and the second six years later ?

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7328

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, FLW went to and returned from Japan 5 times between December 1916 and July 1922.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1322
Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan", Julia Meech, is a must to learn about Wright's dealing and collecting prints. It also covers aspects of his life, associates, and clients before and throughout the Imperial phase. One of my favorite books.

The Spaulding association takes up an entire chapter. They were knowledgeable collectors before coming into contact with Wright, having taken a trip to Japan in 1909, although Wright's first trip took place in 1905. It should be noted that Wright was a collector long before a dealer. There were a number of dealers around the country competing for the dollars of wealthy collectors, and Wright easily became a steady supplier due to his status as a world-famous architect and collector himself. Up to half of the 6,500 prints in their collection were obtained by Wright, primarily in the years he was building the Imperial.

Wright's first contact with William Spaulding occurred in 1912. A dealer friend in Chicago, Frederick Gookin, informed Wright of a letter he received from Spaulding inquiring about prints. Wright had recently acquired 112 quality prints available for $10,000. Gookin showed Spaulding the prints in Wright's absence at the Orchestra Hall office, where Wright kept his "inventory". Spaulding already had copies of many and valued the remaining at $7,500. That initial sale ended up as part of a purchase totally $25,000. Wright obtained prints for Spaulding until 1921.

Correspondence from Spaulding indicates Wright was working on plans for the print room in 1914, and there's no definitive reason why it was not built. One thought is it was only a speculative exercise by a competitive Wright. At the same time the staff of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts was assembling Japanese interiors and garden courts in the Asian galleries, and perhaps Wright was goaded into coming up with something since his business interests with Spaulding were in Boston. It's assumed the room would have been intended for Spaulding's Back Bay townhouse.

In 1917 Spaulding built a fireproof vault for his collection at their main residence north of Boston, still having Wright's plans in his possession. He may have been considering building the print room for the last 3 years and ultimately decided not to. Perhaps the protective aspect of fireproofing won out. It also wouldn't be a stretch to assume a Wright room at odds with the preferred monumental doorways, high ceilings, and marble surfaces at the location Spaulding decided would house his collection.

Spaulding died in 1937, and his brother gave the collection to the museum in 1942. Unfortunately, the terms of the original gifting prohibited the prints from ever being exhibited, Spaulding citing their "delicate, fugitive colors". The inability to control light levels in 1921 would make sense of the terms. Considering the size of the collection, it is not well known and only seen by the occasional scholar.

A few doodles from Wright.... and notice the windows originally intended on the upper walls, removed from later plans. Light level control in 1914?


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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, thanks for the clarification on the radiator surrounds. That's definitely what they are. I'd love to see an elevation as they seem to be nicely conceived based on the plan.

I'm trying to see if I can find any kind of design that's comparable to the "tile", or whatever it is, shown around the upper doors. That may take a while, and in the end I'll probably have to guess.

JimM, thanks for posting that sketch! It's always great to see how something evolves.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the smallest plan sketch, with an accompanying section drawing. One end of the elongated cruciform plan has a stair and an asymmetrically-placed fireplace; the high windows run along one wall only. Perhaps Mr Spaulding might have been ready to give Mr Wright an entire structure to play with ?

SDR
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two more drawings in the 12 volume Complete Works that are worth showing, so I'm posting them here:





The additional elevation doesn't tell us a whole lot more, but does have a couple nice details. Notice that the vases around the door have a vertical strip of red squares, which is an elegant touch. Also, on the right above the drawers, there is an alternate section lightly sketched in. It shows a shelf with a vase on it, and the label 'pottery'. That would make a better use of space than having those huge sloped walls for the prints be solid masses.

The plan really answered a lot of questions, since it's of the second floor. Based on the section posted on the previous page, I had wondered what was going on with the two side spaces. It looked like both of them had some kind of floor/platform above them, but I wasn't sure why they were at different heights. It turns out the one on the left in plan is just a shelf over a dividing wall, and that the space is the full two story height. The dividing wall acts almost as an entrance gate.

Perhaps the detail that answered the most questions for me was the plans of the upper story windows. It shows that those vertical strips of squares we were wondering about are actually part of the window glazing.

What a neat space this would have been.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice -- I believe you have interpreted the new drawings correctly. One more detail is what might be a bridge -- over an alley perhaps, and connecting to a neighboring building ? No way to know, and I think you can safely delete all but the doorway, there, with no loss of important data or detail.

Keep up the good work, and enjoy it too !

By the way, I don't believe the 12-volume Monograph set can be described as complete, or a catalog raisonné -- just a very useful and generous selection of the works.

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here, from 1916, is the Bogk house of Wright. Note the sliver windows framing the sash.


http://www.jsonline.com/story/life/home-garden/at-home-with/2016/10/13/century-old-wright-home-has-served-family-since-1955/91539240/


SDR
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