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Darwin D. Martin House
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egads



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 850
Location: Long Beach CA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thought was that they could be lanterns. I wonder what other light source is in that hall?
I also wonder if the black "fence posts" could be mock ups in wood, painted?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah -- good thought. That would explain their brand-new appearance and unexpected color -- to me.

In Jim's first drawing, the posts might be said to appear in nascent form ? There's another major Prairie fire screen with panels which swing (from both sides of) such posts. So there's a repeated theme going . . .

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are twp precedents, at the Dana house:

http://www.dana-thomas.org/photogallery.aspx#prettyPhoto[pp_galINT]/4/

See interior photos 5, 6, 7

And the one I'm thinking of, photos 29 and 40 !

It makes perfect structural and aesthetic sense for Wright to hinge his fire screens to a pole that's attached to the fire dog, one on each side. I see this as an ideal solution to the problem.

To see an entirely rectangular screen placed in front of a semi-circular fireplace opening, without careful coordination of the two geometries, is a bit jarring. But, that aside, these screens are a delight; I particularly like the one with screens on both sides of each pole, as this seems the most physically as well as visually balanced construction -- disregarding for the moment any issue of access to the firebox, with, for instance, large logs ?


In the Martin version, the poles appear to be fastened to the mantel; if so, this takes care of the physical balance issue . . .

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7206

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the fireplace elevation may be Martin at an early stage of development, it's possible that it's Husser, which also had such a mural. The form seems more like Husser than Martin.

When remodeled in the 50s, the fireplace, stripped of its mural, was plastered and painted, if memory serves, a disturbing pink. I believe the hallway side was blocked. There was no mantel, and the opening was a very weak curve.

The surprise in the drawing above is that FLW was already working on his "mulling" urn which he used so effectively at Fallingwater years later.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another handsome fireplace screen is the unexecuted Hollyhock brass repousse.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure enough -- Husser it is. http://www.steinerag.com/flw/Artifact%20Pages/PhRtS046SG.htm

Oddest of all is that the Husser fireplace elevation seems to be a collage, with a photograph of a mosaic panel taking the place of a drawing of same. Either this drawing was made/altered after construction, or Wright had on hand a photograph of some previous work by Ostertag/Giannini.

Closer inspection of the Martin arrangement shows that the screens are not hinged to the puzzling totem poles but to a separate structure behind them.

SDR
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1319
Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just noticed the stanchions in the plan view of the fireplace as built. Note on the elevation the design at the top is much busier than the final result, which is very much a "block". You could go out on a limb and wonder if all those brick piers necessitated a corresponding vertical element at the horizontal "mantle".

I thought that was Husser, since there's a hint of the "checkerboard" trim detailing around the dining room table top and other places. What's interesting is the drawing is included with the Martin grouping in the Monograph. Might have slipped by, but most likely used as an example of the similar Wisteria pattern found at Martin.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hum. The labeling of drawings in the Monographs is truly minimal; no dates or drawing numbers are given, and thus no hint as to where the drawings fall in the sequence of design. They are pretty much "picture books" -- of an invaluable nature !

SDR
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 615
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is strange that the Husser fireplace drawing/collage would be inserted in the Martin project coverage without being identified as from a different project.
Do we know of other instances in the Monographs of vague/misattributions?
Here's how those two drawings are arranged on the page, and their corresponding identification:



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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting. No, I have found no errors, yet, in my volumes. Although the captioning should have been corrected, perhaps that Husser illustration (doesn't it look like a collage to you ?) was the only close-up of an Ostertag wisteria mosaic mural that the editor could find . . .

I just came across a source I had forgotten about, Brian Spencer's book "The Prairie School Tradition." On page 58/9 we find this 1904 rendering of a wisteria fireplace mural drawn by George Niedecken.

If this is actually a Martin elevation, it doesn't match the geometry of the finished Martin fireplace design -- does it ?


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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13773
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim's image:

http://s1324.photobucket.com/user/JGM51/media/DarwinMartinFPc1908-5_zps9fb1c92b.jpeg.html

I agree that the composition "wants" those vertical metal posts where they are. They're very nearly just half the height of the mural above the stone lintel . . .

SDR
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1319
Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remembered a mini-biography of Blanche Ostertag in a 1981 FLLW Newsletter (Jeannine Love, Oberlin College at the time). The complete article is an interesting read, but sections relevant to Wright are attached. Of note is a contemporaneous description of the Husser Wisteria mosaic collaboration of Ostertag and Giannini.

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An afterthought... the description of Husser mentions the public being able to view it at an exhibition at the Architectural Club... that may explain what the collage was for?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much. The Husser drawing might have been exhibited; do I detect in the photo of the panel that it is free-standing, propped up perhaps in the studio ? If so, maybe the panel itself was able to be exhibited before being installed ?

That photo is so like the one that seems to appear in the collage -- but with the perspective slightly different. Could a second photo, truly orthogonal, have been taken at the same time ? Today, we could adjust the perspective in Photoshop; I can do that now, in Gimp . . .

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7206

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look at the historic photo SDR posted above (Mon, 4/24) taken from the living room. The design of the entire composition is perfection. That makes the placement of the small vase on the mantle very distracting. I wonder what FLW would make of that? Am I quibbling?
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