Robie House declared a Masterpiece (again)

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John
Posts: 409
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Robie House declared a Masterpiece (again)

Post by John »

From Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune:
"It’s a masterpiece. The word, often overused, fits. Let’s use it."

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/col ... story.html

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10210
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Seeing the dining room in full bloom, and the divider/bench installed by the fireplace, finally gives visitors an accurate view of what was accomplished in 1909. Time for a trip to Chicago.

SDR
Posts: 19476
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

At last . . .

A surprise was to hear that Mr Wright "led a successful campaign to save" the house; I'd never heard that before, though the "entrusting anything spiritual " quote is famous.

Another surprise is mention of the "deeply raked mortar joints." I had only lately reconciled myself to the idea, supported by most photographs, that the bed mortar at Robie was in fact not originally so treated. Now I don't know what to think . . .

It's so fine to see the inglenook recreated, and the dining table and chairs back in place. I wonder what accounts for the difference---in the supplied photo---in wood tone between the dining set and the other woodwork in the room. Do the table and chairs bear their original finish ?

S

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10210
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

I recall reading about that visit to Robie in the 50s. He didn't exactly lead an effort, he just paid a visit and commented to the press. He said that with just an updated kitchen, the house would be as relevant as ever.

The joints were raked throughout. However, the weather took its toll. Water would settle in the joints, freeze, expand and cause damage to the brickwork. At some time long ago, the house was repointed flush.

As I understand it, the dining room set went to a museum many years ago, and so was probably never refinished. Same with the couch in the living room. The rest of the woodwork in the dining room was recently restored. The original large cabinet was long ago removed.

outside in
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: chicago

Post by outside in »

when John Vinci was working on the house in the 80's he found, much to his surprise, that the mortar joints were not raked as in Wright's other homes.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10210
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

That's odd. I recall a lecture by someone or other who claimed they were raked. There was also a docent in the 80s who said they were. But scrutinizing early photos in Don Hoffmann's book, it is obvious that they were flush.

Well, another anecdotal fairytale squashed.

Rood
Posts: 1164
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:19 pm
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

Post by Rood »

In 1957 LIFE Magazine published, as I recall, a photo of Mr. Wright standing (leaning) against the house, but it was New York real estate developer William Zeckendorf who saved the house from destruction, when he offered to buy it for $102,000.00. For a time Zeckendorf's firm (Webb and Knapp) apparently used the house as their office, while overseeing work in Chicago. See:

http://www.hydepark.org/historicpres/robie.htm#1957

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Zeckendorf_Jr.

peterm
Posts: 6196
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Presently the vertical head joints (the Roman bricks nearly touch each other) are flush and tinted to match the brick, and horizontal bed joints are concave, tooled and gray. I assume this matches the original work?

https://pin.it/zjlvgmtaelsipr

SDR
Posts: 19476
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I think that photo captures the consensus---both on the building, and among the various observers---of the brickwork at Robie,
and appears close to what's seen in vintage shots---more or less.

And an interesting contrast can be had between that surface and the one in a picture below it on the Pinterest page, presumably
of the Martin Complex masonry. Where Robie is a dark-and-light striped effect of one sort, at Martin the values are reversed---at
least under outdoor conditions---with the shadowed mortar bed reading dark against the lighter brick.



In either case, photos taken at various places on the buildings, under different lighting, produce a variety of effects.

Image

Image

Image




Image

Image

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10210
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

The Martin brick works better inside than Robie, as does the Dana brick.

SDR
Posts: 19476
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Interesting. Maybe it's a good thing, then, that there's not a lot of brick visible in the Robie house interiors---on the main level, anyway . . . ?

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/842252 ... ?p=publish

S

DavidC
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »


SDR
Posts: 19476
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Screen shots from the WayneBite video present a number of novel views. One might be forgiven for thinking that the dining-room table lantern seen in close-up (#6) was a recently-made replica . . .

Two additional fireplaces present a puzzle for the novice; where are they located ? I suppose the first is in the lower-level reception room, and the second in the billiard room perhaps ?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5


Image 6


Image 7

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10210
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

First fireplace is in the playroom, the second in the billiard room. The bedroom is the guest on the main level next to the living room. The last photo is the entrance looking toward the coat closet.

SDR
Posts: 19476
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

And screenshot #1 must be the bookcase seen in the restored interior photo I linked . . . ?

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/842252 ... ?p=publish

I don't care for those flat-head screws, clearly not countersunk, in photo #7 . . .

S

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