The Susan Lawrence Dana House (1902 – 1904), one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earliest projects, afforded him the opportunity to experiment with design and construction techniques that would become emblematic of his Prairie Style architecture.
Cast of The Frieze
Though many European modernists shunned exterior ornament, American practitioners like Wright used it liberally to accentuate structure, with a proclivity toward geometric abstractions of nature. Applied on the upper portions of the exterior, the decorative frieze wraps around the house, forming a richly-patterned skin derived from the shape of sumac leaves — a motif applied throughout the house on windows, lamps, and decorative objects. This project is also known and the Dana-Thomas House.
Hermann Finsterlin (German, 1887 – 1973) a painter, toy designer and architectural theorist, is associated with German Expressionist architecture of the 1920s. Molded or cast models such as Study For a House of Sociability (c. 1920) played an important part in Finsterlin’s design process.
When this exhuberantly colorful model was acquired in 1968, MoMA curator Arthur Drexler observed that Finsterlin proposed an architecture that would essentially be hollow sculpture, free of functional considerations.
Finsterlin had a habit of retroactively dating his postwar pieces to the 1920s; the indefinite completion date here reflect this ambiguity.
In NYC, you will come across amazing discoveries every few feet if you just keep your eyes open. I was walking to the train from a fun visit to the newly-reopened Metropolitan Museum of Art when this unique, wrought iron sculptural door caught my eye. And how could it not: It looks like a medieval Dragon is struggling to burst forth from behind a cage onto the sidewalk! Very Scary!
While I did not want to trespass onto private property, I did sneak a bit closer so that I could get a good detail shot of the Dragon’s head. It is super cool! I have no clue who the artist is but what an awesome thing to have designed to make this building stand out. I wonder if Game of Thrones fans live there?
They’ve also kept the design cohesive by adding these spider-web-like guards to the first floor windows. This place is officially ready for Halloween all year long. Well done!
These Architectural Features are Part of a Five-Story, Three-Unit Building (According to Street Easy, Although I Suspect it’s a Private Home) Located at 52 East 81st Street between Madison and Park, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
This set of French Doors was originally installed in the Sedgwick S. Brinsmaid House, one of the earliest examples of Prairie-school architecture in Iowa. The horizontally oriented building, with its stucco-and-wood surface, pierced details, and abundance of geometric leaded glass, relates closely to works by Frank Lloyd Wright. A contemporary of Wright, Arthur Heun began his architectural career in Chicago and was an important member of the Chicago Architectural Club, where he exhibited a design for this house in 1902.
Sash windows, chandeliers, and lanterns were designed en suite with the doors; the distinctive element is the chevron pattern, its angles echoing the broadly projecting gables of the house.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Provides Perfect Backdrop to Jun Kaneko Sculptures in Public Art Exhibition
Are you a fan of the late Architect Frank Lloyd Wright? I sure am. When I visited Chicago on my 2019 summer vacation, Geoffrey and I took a day trip Oak Park to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and we had all kinds of crazy fun. If you are also a lover of art and architecture, and you also have the means to travel to Buffalo, New York, here’s an excursion that is worth the effort to get to. The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative has partnered with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House to present an exciting installation featuring artist Jun Kaneko’s monumental ceramic sculptures, which will be on view through early October 2021. Titled The Space Between: Frank Lloyd Wright | Jun Kaneko, the installation comprises seven of the artist’s enormous, freestanding ceramic works for outdoor display on the newly restored grounds of the Martin House estate.
Born in Japan in 1942, Kaneko is an internationally renowned artist primarily known for his pioneering work in ceramic materials. His large pieces, called dangos, are the result of a complex traditional Japanese raku firing and glazing process that produces unique geometric shapes and vibrant color combinations. “In this era of social distancing, the safe, engaging, stimulating experience that public art provides is more important than ever before,” said Janne Sirén, Albright-Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. “We are proud to collaboratively present this exhibition with the Martin House as our organizations strive to fulfill our missions of enriching and transforming our community.” Wright and Kaneko were both pioneers in their fields, and Wright had an enduring interest in Japanese arts and culture and a reverence for nature, all of which are beautifully captured in Kaneko’s work.
“This public art installation is a unique opportunity to experience the interaction between Kaneko’s sculptures, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and the surrounding landscape,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Executive Director. “The site is now reopened to public tours, and the artwork has provided another reason to visit the estate.” Many of Kaneko’s works represent years of production time due to their immense scale, which takes months to slowly build up to avoid the works being crushed under their own weight. The tallest works in the exhibition are more than 10 feet tall with walls in excess of three inches thick and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. Their fired slip-surfaces create a glass-like coating suitable for outdoor public display in the extreme weather conditions that will occur during the sixteen-month installation.
In addition to the seven large works on the grounds, several smaller works will be on view inside the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, the Martin House public visitor center. The selection of works for the installation has been curated by Albright-Knox Public Art Curator Aaron Ott and organized by Martin House Curator Susana Tejada. Visit This Link for more information, and to plan your visit!
In 1927, Paul Frankl wrote, “In my own creations for the modern American home, I have kept within the architectural spirit of our time,” citing the New York City skyline as his most powerful design source. Indeed, the architecture of Manhattan is reflected in every detail of Frankl’s Skyscraper Cabinet, including its simplicity, continuity of line, flat surfaces, sharp and clean moldings, quality of restraint, and overall feeling of power. Not even 18-inches deep, Frankl’s cabinet was designed to conserve space in small city apartments. See other examples of Paul Frankl’s Skyscraper-influenced designs Here and Here.
Premiering at the Art Institute of Chicago in October 1930, Grant Wood’s American Gothic captivated the public’s imagination and catapulted Wood into the national spotlight overnight. The painting depicts a couple — modeled on Wood’s sister, Nan, and his Dentist — who stand in front of a Midwestern house. The house is notable for its lone “gothic” window, a typical feature of the then-popular Carpenter Gothic style of architecture, in which gothic elements are used in otherwise simple, modern wood structures.
Wood identified the pair as father and daughter, though the work was initially assumed to be a portrait of a husband and wife. “I simply invented some ‘American Gothic’ people to stand in front of a house of this type,” Wood later explained. From the painting’s debut onward, its meaning has been the subject of endless speculation. What has remained central is its seeming embodiment of something stereotypically American.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, on View Through June 10th, 2018 at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District, NYC.