Frank Lloyd Wright life and biography

Frank Lloyd Wright picture, image, poster

Frank Lloyd Wright biography

Date of birth : 1867-06-08
Date of death : 1959-04-09
Birthplace : Richland Center, Wisconsin, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arhitecture and Engineering
Last modified : 2010-07-19
Credited as : Architect, designes as Prairie Style, known for Tokyo's Imperial Hotel

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Frank Lloyd Wright, born June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin - died April 9, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona was an American architect.


Frank Lloyd Wright is "universally accepted as the greatest architect America has ever produced," wrote contributor John Winter in Contemporary American Architects. The Wisconsin-born Wright is known for creating structures that complement their natural surroundings. He also designed integrated structures that carried the lines of the architecture into the buildings' interior design and furnishings. Architect for notable public structures like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Tokyo's Imperial Hotel, he is also famous for his design of private residences. According to Winter: "It is in the treatment of space within the one-family home that Wright has had the greatest impact and there is hardly a home in America that does not show signs of his influence."

Wright designed scores of private houses, many in a style called the "Prairie Style" due to their "long, low, earth-hugging proportions," in the words of Winter. These homes include the renowned Fallingwater house and the Fallingwater guest house in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, buildings that complement a nearby waterfall and other aspects of the natural landscape. He designed and built many homes in the Midwest, including the famed Robie House in Chicago, Illinois, his own home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, as well as his own private quarters attached to the Taliesin complex in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

In addition to his work designing and overseeing buildings and other structures, Wright also worked as a teacher. He founded the Wright Foundation Fellowship for the education of future architects. They studied at the Wisconsin Taliesin and at Taliesin West in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Some of his students finished projects that Wright began before his 1959 death, including the Marin County Government Center in California.

Wright also wrote a number of books. He describes his views on the relationship between a building and its natural surroundings in An Organic Architecture (1939), a work republished in 1970. A collection of lectures that Wright delivered to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1939, An Organic Architecture includes his assertion that "we are talking about the countryside itself developing into a type of building." Other works by Wright were revised or reprinted in the 1970s. Reviewing the 1977 revised edition of An Autobiography (a work originally published in 1932), Library Journal contributor Gloria K. Rensch called it "a classic work that should be in most libraries." It included Wright's own revisions of the work as well as several photographs of his family, friends, and architectural works.

Wright's book Genius and Mobocracy, first published in 1949 and reissued in 1971, includes Wright's views on democracy as well as information about American architect Louis H. Sullivan. Early in his career, Wright had worked at Sullivan's Chicago, Illinois firm of Adler and Sullivan. Reviewing Genius and Mobocracy, a Choice contributor observed how critics have noted that the work "said more about Frank Lloyd Wright that it did about Louis H. Sullivan, its apparent subject." A collection of Wright's portfolios, Ausgefuehrte Bauten und Entwurfe, was first published in Germany in 1911, and was reissued in 1968 as Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Work. According to a critic in another review in Choice, this reissue is valuable for "seeing what Europe saw in 1911." This same text was later published as The Early Work of Frank Lloyd Wright: The "Ausgefuehrte Bauten" of 1911 (1982).

In the 1970s and 1980s members of the Wright Memorial Foundation edited and published the so-called "Letters Trilogy," three books of Wright's letters to various people. This trilogy contains the volumes Letters to Apprentices, Letters to Architects, and Letters to Clients. Writing about Letters to Apprentices and Letters to Architects in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Alex Raksin said the books contain "Wright's thoughts about placing man in harmony with nature" as well as the architect's "desire to help middle-income Americans design their own environment" and his insistence that "talented, poor students be admitted to Taliesin." Commenting on the scope of the collection, Ada Louise Huxtable, reviewing all three in the New York Times Book Review, stated: "Call Wright `genius,' `magician,' or `shaman,' his architecture is rooted in a far more impressive and less mysterious reality. Some of that reality is in the letters; more will emerge as other documents appear."

Interest in Wright's life and works continued into the 1990s. Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, edited a five-volume collection of Wright's written work: Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 1, 1894-1930 (1992), Volume 2, 1930-1932 (1992), Volume 3, 1931-1939 (1994), Volume 4, 1939-1949 (1994), and Volume 5, 1949-1959 (1995). "The larger value of the Collected Writings," wrote New York Times Book Review contributor Thomas S. Hines, "is that finally we will have in one vast publication all of Wright's literary work," as well as "rare articles long out of print and newly available unpublished pieces from the Taliesin archives."

Other critics praised Wright's Collected Writings. Glenn Masuchika, discussing the first volume in the Library Journal, observed that in addition to Wright's skill as an architect, he "was also a prolific and imaginative writer." American Book Review contributor Robert Twombly recommended the first two volumes for their accurate information, "excellent illustrations" and "for collating a significant portion of what Wright intended for public consumption." The third volume of the Collected Writings contains "some gems of insight," commented Choice contributor J. Quinan, "into Wright's personality and work." Reviewing the fourth volume in Choice, Quinan observed that the Collected Writings "continue to provide new insights into one of America's most intriguing and prolific creative personalities." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews stated that the fourth volume contains "handsome" photographs and illustrations, "but they can only enhance, never compete with, the drama of Wright's words."

Discussing all the volumes in Choice, J. Quinan predicted that "the full set of Wright's writings will constitute an invaluable aid to scholars." Reviewing the first two volumes of Wright's Collected Writings in the New Republic, Diana Ketcham summarized Wright's legacy: "It was Wright's accomplishment, unique among modern architecture's first generation, to marry the urban glamour of the modern with the romance of the wide open spaces," adding that the architect "was a utopian thinker who practiced the frontier virtues of industry and grit."


Original name, Frank Lincoln Wright; born June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, WI; died April 9, 1959, in Phoenix, AZ; son of William Russell Cary (an attorney, preacher, and musician) and Anna Lloyd (a teacher; maiden name, Jones) Wright; married Catherine Lee Tobin, 1889 (divorced); companion of Mamah Bortwick Cheney, (died, 1914); married Miriam Noel (a sculptor), 1915 (divorced); married Olgivanna Ivanova Lazovich Hinzenberg (a dancer and writer; took the name Olgivanna Lloyd Wright), 1925; children: (first marriage) Lloyd, John, Catherine, Frances, David, Llewellyn; (third marriage) Iovanna; stepchildren: (third marriage) Svetlana. Education: Attended the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering, 1885-87. Avocational Interests: Collecting Japanese art. Memberships: National Institute of Arts and Letters.


Kenchiko Ho Citation, Royal Household of Japan, 1919; Royal Gold Medal, Royal Institute of British Architects, England, 1941; Gold Medal, American Institute of Architects, 1949; Peter Cooper Award, 1949; Star of Solidarity, City of Venice, 1951; Gold Medal, City of Florence, 1951; Gold Medal, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1953; Brown Medal, Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, PA), 1954; Freedom of the City, Chicago, IL, 1956. Received honorary degrees from Princeton University, 1947, Florida Southern College, 1950, Yale University, 1954, University of Wisconsin, 1955, University of Wales, 1956, Wesleyan University, and the University of Venice. Honorary member of the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium, 1927; Akademie Royal der Kuenste, Berlin, Germany, 1929; National Academy of Brazil, 1932; Royal Institute of British Architects, 1941; National Academy of Architects, Uruguay, 1942; National Academy of Architects, Mexico, 1943; National Academy of Finland, 1946; and Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Sweden, 1953. Wright Memorial Foundation in Spring Green, WI, founded in his honor; Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy founded to conserve his buildings.


Allen D. Conover, Madison, WI, junior draftsman, 1885-87; Lyman Silsbee, Chicago, IL, junior draftsman, 1887; Adler and Sullivan, Chicago, assistant architect, 1888-89, head of planning and design department, 1889-93; architect, partner with Cecil Corwin, Chicago, 1893-96; architect, Oak Park, IL, 1896-97; architect, Chicago, IL, 1897-1909, and beginning again in 1912; architect, Taliesin, Spring Green, WI, 1911-59; architect, Tokyo, Japan, 1915-20; architect, California, 1921-24 and 1928; architect, Chandler, AZ, 1928-29, and Paradise Valley, AZ, 1938-59. Founder, Wright Foundation Fellowship at Taliesin and Taliesin West; also worked as a teacher. After his death, Wright's students founded Taliesin Associated Architects to complete some of his projects. Compiled the Spaulding Collection of Japanese Prints, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Appeared in a documentary short film in the Popular Science series; designed a house for the film Five, Columbia, 1951. Recordings include the album Frank Lloyd Wright on Record, Caedmon, 1961.

Major works built include the Frank Lloyd Wright House, 1889, and Studio, 1897, both Oak Park, IL; Larkin Building, Buffalo, NY, 1904; Robie House, Chicago, IL, 1909; Taliesin, Taliesin II, and Taliesin III (Taliesin I and Taliesin II were both partially destroyed by fire), all Spring Green, WI, 1911-25, Taliesin Fellowship Complex built at Taliesin III in 1933; Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, 1922; Ocatillo, Chandler, AZ, 1928; Fallingwater (Kaufmann House), Bear Run, PA, 1935, Fallingwater guest house built in 1938; S. C. Johnson Administration Building, 1936, Research Tower, 1944, and office alterations 1951, all Racine, WI; Wingspread (Johnson House), Racine, WI, 1937; Taliesin West, Paradise Valley, AZ, 1938; Snowflake (Wall House), Plymouth, MI, 1941; Solor Hemicycle (Jacobs House), Middleton, WI, 1942; Fountainhead (Hughes House), Jackson, MS, 1948; Dallas Theatre Centre, Dallas, TX, 1955; Marin County Government Center, San Rafael, CA, begun in 1957, completed by others in 1966; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, 1959; also designed and built several other buildings, complexes, and structures.

Exhibitions of Wright's work include shows at the Chicago Architectural Club, Chicago, IL, 1894, 1898, 1900, 1901, 1902, and 1907; Museum of Modern Art, New York City and tour of American and European cities, 1931; Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1940; Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy, toured European and North American cities, 1951-54; Exposition de l'oeuvre de Frank Lloyd Wright, Paris, France, c. 1952; Frank Lloyd Wright: Vision and Legacy, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 1965; An Architect and His Client: Frank Lloyd Wright, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, 1973; Frank Lloyd Wright, Drawings, 1887-1959, Italian cities, 1976-77; Frank Lloyd Wright, Designs, 1887-1959, European cities, 1977; The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Renwick Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1978; Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School, Musee de la Seita, Paris, France, 1983; Frank Lloyd Wright, Art in Design, Hirschl & Adler Modern Museum, New York City, 1983; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, 1983; Frank Lloyd Wright: Architectural Drawings and Decorative Art, European cities, c. 1985; Frank Lloyd Wright in the Realm of Ideas, American cities, c. 1988-90; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, 1990; The Wright State: Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, 1992; Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1994; and Designs for an American Landscape: 1922-1932, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, 1997. Collections of Wright's work can be found at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, Taliesin, Spring Green, WI, and Taliesin West, Paradise Valley, AZ; Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, Avery Library, Columbia University, New York City; Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, WI; Roux Library, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.


* Ausgefuehrte Bauten und Entwurfe, E. Wasmuth (Berlin), 1911, published as Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Work, Horizon Press (New York City), 1968, republished as The Early Work of Frank Lloyd Wright: The "Ausgefuehrte Bauten" of 1911, with a new introduction by Grant Carpenter Manson, Dover Publications (New York City), 1982.

* The Japanese Print: An Interpretation, [Chicago, IL], 1912, Horizon Press, 1967.

* Experimenting with Human Lives, Fine Art Society (Hollywood, CA), 1923.

* (With others) The Life Work of the American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, edited by H. Th. Wijdeveld, Wendingen (Saantport, the Netherlands), 1925, with an introduction by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, Horizon Press, 1965, published with a new introduction by Donald Hoffman as Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete "Wendingen" Series, Dover Publications, 1992.

* Modern Architecture, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1931.

* Two Lectures on Architecture, Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1931.

* An Autobiography, Longmans Green and Company (London, England), 1932, revised edition published by Duell, Sloan, and Pearce (New York City), 1943 , revised edition, Horizon Press, 1977.

* The Disappearing City, W. F. Payson (New York City), 1932, revised edition published as When Democracy Builds, University of Chicago Press (Chicago), 1945, revised edition published as The Living City, Horizon Press, 1958.

* (With Baker Brownell) Architecture and Modern Life, Harper and Brothers (New York City), 1937.

* An Organic Architecture, Lund Humphries (London), 1939.

* Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture: Selected Writings 1894-1940, edited by Frederick Gutheim, Grosset & Dunlap (New York City), 1941.

* Genius and the Mobocracy, Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1949.

* The Future of Architecture, Horizon Press, 1953.

* The Natural House, Horizon Press, 1954.

* An American Architecture, edited by Edgar Kaufmann, Horizon Press, 1955.

* The Story of the Tower, Horizon Press, 1956.

* The Tree That Escaped the Crowded Forest, Horizon Press, 1956.

* A Testament, Horizon Press, 1957.

* Drawings for a Living Architecture, Horizon Press, 1959.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Writings and Buildings, edited by Edgar Kaufmann and Ben Raeburn, Horizon Press, 1960.

* Architecture: Man in Possession of His Earth, edited by Iovanna Lloyd Wright and Patricia Coyle Nicholson, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1962.

* The Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright, edited by Arthur Drexler, Museum of Modern Art/Horizon Press (New York City), 1962.

* Buildings, Plans and Designs, [New York], 1963.

* The Industrial Revolution Runs Away, Horizon Press, 1969.

* (With Masami Tanigawa) Taliesin East, Spring Green, Wisconsin, 1925--; Taliesin West, Paradise Valley, Arizona, 1938--, edited and photographed by Yukio Futagawa, A.D.A. EDITA Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan), 1974.

* In the Cause of Architecture: Essays by Frank Lloyd Wright for "Architectural Record," 1908-1952, edited by Frederick Gutheim, McGraw-Hill (New York City), 1975.

* Letters to Apprentices, edited by Bruce Books Pfeiffer, California State University Press (Fresno, CA), 1975.

* Studies and Executed Buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie School Press (Palos Park, IL), 1975, with an introduction by Vincent Joseph Scully, Rizzoli (New York City), 1986.

* Drawings and Plans of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Period, Dover Publications, 1983.

* The Master Architect: Conversations with Frank Lloyd Wright, edited by Patrick J. Meehan, Wiley (New York City), 1984.

* Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim Correspondence, selections and commentary by Pfeiffer, California State University Press, 1986.

* Letters to Architects, edited by Pfeiffer, California State University Press, 1986.

* Letters to Clients, edited by Pfeiffer, California State University Press, 1986.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: His Living Voice, selections and commentary by Pfeiffer, California State University Press, 1987.

* Modern Architecture: Being the Kahn Lectures for 1930, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale), 1987.

* Truth against the World: Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks for an Organic Architecture, edited by Patrick J. Meehan, Wiley, 1987.

* Frank Lloyd Wright Drawings: Masterworks from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, edited by Pfeiffer, Abrams (New York City), 1990.

* "At Taliesin": Newspaper Columns by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship, 1934-1937, compilations and commentary by Randolph C. Henning, foreword by Pfeiffer, Southern Illinois University Press, 1992.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 1 1894-1930, edited by Pfeiffer, introduction by Kenneth Frampton, Rizzoli, 1992.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings Including an Autobiography, Volume 2 1930-1932, edited by Pfeiffer, introduction by Kenneth Frampton, Rizzoli, 1992.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks, edited by David Larkin and Pfeiffer, Rizzoli, 1993.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 3, 1931-1939, edited by Pfeiffer, introduction by Frampton, Rizzoli, 1994.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 4, 1939-1949, edited by Pfeiffer, introduction by Frampton, Rizzoli, 1994.

* Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 5, 1949-1959, edited by Pfeiffer, introduction by Frampton, Rizzoli, 1995.

* Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence, edited by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer and Robert Wojtowicz, Princeton Archetectural Press, 2002.

Contributor to books, including Architectural Essays from the Chicago School, [Chicago, IL], 1967. Contributor to periodicals, including newspapers and Architectural Record. Writings translated into other languages.


The CD ROM set Frank Lloyd Wright Presentation and Conceptual Drawings, was released by Luna Imaging/Oxford University Press in 1995. Shining Brow, an opera about Wright's life, premiered in Madison, WI, c. 1993. Shining Brow is the English translation of Taliesin, the name of a Welsh bard as well as the name of Wright's studios in Wisconsin and Arizona.

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