8 June marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the 20th century’s most important architects. Born in Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright established his own practice in Chicago in 1893 and led the Prairie School, a movement that spanned the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century. His work, along with the work of Scottish architect and designer Charles Rene Mackintosh, is often credited as being a forerunner to modernism. Fine examples of his work include the Robie House (1909), Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania (1927), and his later Taliesin West house in Arizona (1937) and Guggenheim Museum, New York (1959).
Events are planned across the USA to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy and the 150th anniversary of his birth on 8 June 1867, including a series of open houses, lectures, talks and major retrospective at MoMa, New York.
Closer to home, MAAS holds an interesting early Frank Lloyd Wright-related object – a copy of the Dutch journal ‘Wendingen’ (Issue No.11, 1921) which features a fine string Japanese-style binding through six holes in the spine. The issue is devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright.
‘Wendingen’ was a periodical published by the Amsterdam School, a group of Expressionist artists and craftspeople active primarily in Amsterdam between 1915 and around 1930. This issue devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright, was written by Dutch architect Dr H. P. Berlage, and it features beautiful internal layout and modernist typography by Dutch architect, writer, furniture designer, typographer and teacher, H. T. Wijdeveld (1885-1989).
Rendered drawings and photographs of various Lloyd Wright projects, including the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and Olive Hill residence in Los Angeles, are reproduced throughout.
The cover design is by El Lissitzky, one of the great avant-garde figures of the early 20th century, and Russia’s most important artist-designer to influence modernism. As a Constructivist artist seeking to create an ‘art of order’, Lissitzky devised a series of geometric forms and compositions which he used to generate his own ground-breaking modernist graphic design and typography.
The Powerhouse Museum holds two El Lissitzky works – the other being a rare stoneware ceramic plate designed while Lissitzky lived in Germany around 1923 and made in Germany in the 1930s. Both items are being lent by MAAS to the Heide Museum of Modern Art’s forthcoming ‘Call of the Avant-garde: Constructivism & Australian Art’ exhibition which opens on 6 July 2017, marking the centenary of the Russian revolution. This exhibition will trace the avant-garde early twentieth-century Constructivism movement’s ongoing influence on artists over more than a hundred years.