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Frank Lloyd Wright's signature red tile on the Guggenheim with the initials FLW

 
       
 

FLW: RED SQUARE ON CONCRETE CURVES

 
 

Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward

   

 

  

 

The Guggenheim Museum, all curves, and one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most celebrated architectural spaces, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the building with a landmark exhibit that runs all summer long!

Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward includes 64 projects (including residences) and over 200 drawings, new three-dimensional scale models, special animations, as well as projects that were never built.  Wright's work was inventive, always possessed of a certain sure beauty and harmony.  A harmony of nature, architecture and man -- itself always the result of a constructed simplicity, a deliberate geometry, of spaces that were fluid and blurred distinctions of inside and outside.  To have the exhibit housed within that marvelous open spiral is to feel the sense of freedom that Wright's buildings possessed.... 

Wright's sense of space, that certain openness and tranquility, owe much to Japanese art and architecture.  We were recently looking at Wrights's The Japanese Print, An Interpretation, a book that contains his famous essay on the subject as well as plates of numerous Japanese prints (the book is out of print, but still available online and in used book stores).  Japanese architecture emphasized the rectilinear and asymmetrical, with dramatic sweep of roof and open plans - all elements that Wright consciously used in his work.  He was the owner of a vast collection of Japanese prints and in fact actively bought, sold, and traded them, and as he said, "Japanese prints...intrigued and taught me much.  The elimination of the insignificant, a process of simplification in art in which I was myself already engaged."  Hiroshige and Hokusai were particular favorites.  Wright was taken with the structural nature of the prints, the consciousness of geometry and arrangement, the flat colors that emphasized the rhythm of form and line so that, as Wright says, the "…organic integrity within the work of art itself is the fundamental law of beauty."  His own architectural drawings owe much to Hiroshige and the Japanese print in their graphic qualities, the use of foliage, and a sense of continuity of line in his renderings.  And there is something of this graphic sense in the signature on his drawings - the famous 'red square' with his initials, and a version of this red square was also the logo he used on his stationery.  Frank Lloyd Wright often had a single simple red tile with his signature, FLW, set into the facades of some of his buildings….it was, in many ways, his seal of approval!  

 

See: Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, Guggenheim

Read:   The Japanese Print, An Interpretation, Frank Lloyd Wright 

 

Tags: new york buildings

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