Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

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Dr. Brian
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 12:13 pm

Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Dr. Brian »

Thanks for welcoming me as a new user, have been a long-time enthusiast and Wrightchat follower!
Update - connecting back to many, many previous posts, I am the current owner of those "5000 lbs" of the lost Exhibition House from 1953 in New York. I was a long time friend of the previous owner - Leonard Wisnewski (architect) who passed this last year; he bought his collection from Hindman in Chicago in 1992 as well as from a couple of other collectors that bought at that auction. I also live within ten minutes of his previous home.

I have his Wright collection in storage - all the clerestory windows, all the large top of ceiling windows (no glass), a 4 ft. skydome set in copper, doors, closet doors, kitchen pieces, shelves (many with copper banding on the edges), lots of ceiling panels, lots of outside riffed oak sheets, soffit pieces, and other misc. items. It is by no means a complete house, nor is it in the greatest of shape; but it is real, fills one semi van, and is real Wright! I also acquired two Robie House couches (Bexley), a tall oak chair dining set (Bexley), a Wright coffee table as well as other furniture items.

Dr. Brian Hinrichs, Watseka, IL

toastedskin
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:12 am

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by toastedskin »

You have an incredible collection. I came across one perf from your 1953 house.

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/61 ... indow-1953

Dr. Brian
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 12:13 pm

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Dr. Brian »

Appreciate your post, would not mind adding it to the collection, but I am sure it is a prized piece of yours.

As you look at my clerestory windows, the ones the perfs were in, it is interesting how he (Wright, Henken...) used really simple brass piano like hinges to allow the perf to open, not to mention at the House, they did not put a brass screw in every hole of the hinge, but maybe every 6th hole or so. The glass in my ten windows is just that, simple singular panes of glass. I also noticed that what looks like closets that open with finger pulls (each half) in the bedroom wall (House Beautiful, 1953) really is a solid piece of wood, with a fancy veneer that looks to have a gap in the veneer in the middle as though two pieces, in reality, it never did open in two halves, but just from one side, again a piano hinge all the way down.

Look at Wright Auction site (Chicago, IL) and in the upper right corner, type in Frank Lloyd Wright and hit search, scroll down to the 2004 sale I believe and see the one perf that they had listed for my home, but were unable to get a bid on at the time.
Dr. Brian

toastedskin
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:12 am

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by toastedskin »

Dr Brian,

What you have and what you have been able to observe and learn is quite amazing.

Do you have any hopes of you or someone being able to construct the house? I'm sure you've thought of the Polymath Park and what they have done to reconstruct Usonian houses, but I imagine yours would be even more of a challenge with possible missing pieces. Would be a shame for it to merely be in storage forever, but there may be no real alternative.

I went to the Wright.com website and found that perf. It came from quite a collection.

Thank you for your observations.

Stephen

Dr. Brian
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 12:13 pm

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Dr. Brian »

Thx for the note. I am going to give it a shot to link a few Exhibition House remnant photos; below is the Wright Skydome (kitchen), large window frames near ceiling in living room, and one of many labels on back of 1/4 sheets of riffed oak and other wood. Enjoy (you may have to cut and paste if I screwed it up)!
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/511 ... 3c5c_b.jpg
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/511 ... 7769_b.jpg
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/511 ... 5299_b.jpg

Dr. Brian

SDR
Posts: 20382
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by SDR »


peterm
Posts: 6303
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by peterm »

How wonderful!

Have you considered rebuilding the house on an appropriate site? Any moderately flat spot would work, assuming you could orient it in the same way Wright intended.

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4453
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Dr. Brian,
I was a friend of Leonard Wisnewski whom I met at several FLWBC Conferences over the years. Sorry to hear of his passing.

I was happy to hear that you have acquired the Exhibition House and a few other pieces. I visited him at his home (of his own design) and he showed me his collection of Robie House sofas. I believe he had a least six of them.

I don't know what plans you have regarding reconstruction, but it would make a fine addition to Polymath Park.

All the best to you.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

SDR
Posts: 20382
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by SDR »

The final definition (among seven) of "furnitecture," in the imaginary dictionary entry which I penned July 20, 1990, reads "architecture made of, or from, furniture." Perhaps Mr Wisnewski could have made a Taliesin-student-shelter-sized structure by stacking or interweaving his Robie sofas. A corrugated metal hipped roof would have served, above ?

He would have known, perhaps, that this iconic furniture piece, called a davenport on the original Niedecken drawings, is believed to be the work of George Mann Niedecken. Niedecken first met with Wright on the Robie work eight days before Wright sailed for Europe. Niedecken met with Mr Robie a week later. A ledger and a journal from Niedecken's company contain records of the dates and the items made. Two invoices to Robie from Niedecken & Walbridge included furnishings and textiles made for the Robie house; the second invoice, which included the davenport, contains no items designed by Wright. No Wright drawings for Robie designs are found among the N & W papers, and the Foundation archive contains only designs for built-in furniture. The dining table and high-backed chairs, found on the earlier invoice, are almost certainly Wright designs.

S

DRN
Posts: 4073
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by DRN »

Dr. Brian
Do you have any desire or plans to utilize the salvaged components with new masonry, framing, and the rest that is needed to recreate the house itself?
Might you consider taking stock of what pieces you have and assembling them with some newly milled bits in an existing house or building as a “period room” recreation of a portion of the Exhibition house?

I appreciate your taking on the ownership of these salvaged bits, but will someone else do the same when you are no longer able? The best chance for long term preservation of the pieces is for them to be assembled in some form as a recreated space from the original, or a full rebuild with the historic bits combined with new.

Otherwise, this is just a trailer load of pieces waiting for someone to pull the pretty or recognizable pieces out to sell and chuck the rest in a landfill.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10657
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Roderick Grant »

Remnants of Northome have been recreated in NYC, Mpls., and Allentown, PA. Not entirely fulfilling, but better than nothing.

SDR
Posts: 20382
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by SDR »

S.369, S.370 New York Exhibition House and Pavilion (1953)
New York, New York
Demolished

After opening in the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and touring Europe, the exhibit "Sixty Years of Living Architecture" came to New York City, It was housed in the [Pavilion adjacent to the] Usonian Exhibition House, on the site of the current Guggenheim Museum. [W A Storrer, 1978]


The next year, Mr Wright published "The Natural House." In the middle of the book appeared this 12-page chapter on the Usonian house, with the Exhibition House as the sole example. I've scanned the pages entire, including white space, to portray the graphic design as well as Wright's texts and the captions to his chosen images. The photographs are the work of Ezra Stoller and Pedro Guerrero (indistinguishable from each other in this case, as I see it).

Pages may be enlarged by opening them in a new tab on your device.


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SDR
Posts: 20382
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by SDR »

Details from the photos in the book, showing how the perforated panels were employed at the bedroom windows.

Wright calls them "patterned shutters" in the book.


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SDR
Posts: 20382
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by SDR »

To complete an introduction to the 1953 exhibition and its Usonian house, here are images of the exterior, showing the house at the 89th Street end of the site. Photos by Guerrero of the exterior and interior of the site, and a view drawing made at Taliesin, place the house relative to the exhibition pavilion.

Curtis Besinger devotes seven pages of "Working with Mr Wright" to the design and construction of the exhibition. I will reproduce those pages here if there is interest.


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Text from Taschen, "FLLW 1943-1959" :

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Roderick Grant
Posts: 10657
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Lost 1953 NYC Wright Exhibition House

Post by Roderick Grant »

Having complete freedom in the design of the Exhibition House, this opus might well be considered the ultimate version of the Usonian House. The elegance of the living room is enhanced by the necessity of providing large clerestories to grab what little sunlight is available in midtown Manhattan.

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