Obituary: Vincent Scully

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

I'm enjoying the Burns documentary for the first time. My streaming stopped abruptly at 18:40, for some reason. So far I have collected photos of Anna and Kitty, and will post them together, looking for facial similarity which I think I detect.

Also, Brendan Gill isn't quite the ogre I expected -- so far, anyway ! And I'm pleased that the film starts off with a favorite critic, William Cronon.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It's interesting to hear Wright described as no father to his children -- including from the man himself. One gets an alternative read on the matter from son John, in his memoir "My Father Who is on Earth," where we find page after page of joyful play -- with his sons, at least ?

S
Last edited by SDR on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

SDR
I didn't realize you hadn't seen the Ken Burns show before. It was released in 1998 -- it's surprising to suddenly realize in a few months it will be 20 years old.

Here's a link to the second half:
https://youtu.be/z-_H_kVB1xM

Some of the other Scully moments occur at these marks:
00:01
10:30
22:10
52:23
58:00

If you watch the entire episode, you'll see Edgar Tafel do his best to dramatically retell his version of Wright's immaculate conception (and 120 minute presentation drawing) of Fallingwater with EJ en route, all the while Ken Burns slides across the screen the famous rendering and multiple inked presentation plans and sections, suggesting ....

I'd be eager to hear your impressions.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I'm beginning to think I must have seen the portion of the film you describe, as I recall recoiling from that ridiculous and maddening bit of flummery . . .

Photographs of Wright are presented often in the video and appear to be correctly placed, chronologically. If so, it may be that Mamah's death, and the first and greatest Taliesin tragedy, turned Wright's hair from dark to light ?

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

When we get to the Imperial Hotel and its structural response to the seismically active geology and the spongy site condition, it's difficult to forget reading a letter from Schindler to Wright, some years later, in which the younger architect reminds the elder that the scheme chosen was pressed upon Wright by others, to his initial resistance. This is Schindler addressing Wright to his face, and not behind his back; the letter is quoted in McCoy, "Five California Architects."

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Well, if the worst faux pas is the presentation of finished Fallingwater elevations and a section while discussing the famous day, I suppose that's okay. It would have been so much more meaningful, as well as accurate, to show first the famous yet underexposed preliminaries, and then those presentation sheets.

There is a shot, the last frame of the first video, showing a wooden gate (?) with what appears to be Wright's carved sign from the Oak Park studio. Is that an early gate at Taliesin ?


Image

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

SDR wrote: "There is a shot, the last frame of the first video, showing a wooden gate (?) with what appears to be Wright's carved sign from the Oak Park studio. Is that an early gate at Taliesin ?"

It must be.

Plus, also note what appears to be the "Flower in the Crannied Wall" sculpture just beyond, which found its way to the tea circle in the courtyard where it stood for many years, but now there is a duplicate made of resin in its place. The original is (as of last May) inside in the drafting studio on the spot where the Call Building model sat for awhile.

In the old photo when she's beside that gate she appears to have her arms. Nowadays they're long gone:

Image

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Another statue of some fame (David) has also long resided inside, while a copy occupies its original site ... though I doubt it's made of resin.

One disjunction that ought to have been caught is when FLW's notorious habit of overspending on construction is mentioned while the images are of Frederick Robie and his house. An interview with Robie by his son was published in Leonard Eaton's book "Two Chicago Architects and Their Clients," pp 126-133:
Robie, Sr.
Relationships with Mr. Wright were ideal. It seems inconceivable that the foresight, the knowledge, and the intense desire to do just the right thing could have been imbedded in a man like him - possibly it was in his hair - remember, it was kind of long.
Robie, Jr.
Were there any extras on the job?
Robie, Sr.
None. The actual total cost of the house proper, including all items - even interest and taxes, was $35,000. The cost of the lot was $14,000. Special furnishings, such as a hand-woven rug from Austria, which were provided under Mr. Wright's direction, came to about $10,000.
Robie, Jr.
So your total cost was about?
Robie, Sr.
$59,000.
Robie, Jr.
And the budget you had set up in your mind was what?
Robie, Sr.
$60,000. It was one of the cleanest business deals I ever had.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

To those who have recently viewed the Burns film.
If I remember correctly the narrator comments at some point about a Presbyterian minister condeming Wright for leaving his wife for Mamah.
Does the film mention who that minister was or where he was located?
I recently found a connection to North Carolina with the minister of Lake Forest Presbyterian in Chicago at this time in Wright's career.
I'm wondering if it's the same guy?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Interesting question. Burns and his interviewees certainly found some new tidbits in this film -- new to me, anyway.


On a side note, the music in the film kept up with the times, with a consistent return to Beethoven, appropriately. In the 'thirties somewhere we get a bit of Benny Goodman and one of his early quartets.
What vibraphonist Lionel Hampton brings to "Sweet Sue," the number in the film, absolutely knocks me out. It's at 15:00 on this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKiUt_eb7p8

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

And, then there's Wright's women: his mother, and his three wives. Any facial traits in common ?


Image Image


Image Image

Tom
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Post by Tom »

(back to Lake Forest for a sec:
Evidently the suburb was started by a bunch of Presbyterians who supported Temperance and frowned upon dancing.
The family of Cyrus McCormick was part of this.
Harold McCormick, son of Cyrus, whose wife chose an Italian Villa over Wright's design was part of this too.)

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Don't forget the face of Mamah Borthwick....
http://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2017/06/ ... 950152.jpg

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Oops ! Quite right. I'd like to find a matching straight-on facial view.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Mamah:

Image

I'm seeing a full jaw, and a certain mouth, in all five faces -- with the exception perhaps of Miriam Noel, whose jaw is more pointed.

It has been shown that people choose mates based on a number of physical factors, consciously and not; examples include length ratios to various limbs, and proportions and dimensions of facial features, which often reflect those of the subject him- or herself.

SDR

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