FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT | THE MASTER’S PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS & PERSONAL MESS

frank lloyd wright

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.”  –Frank Lloyd Wright

It’s fascinating, sad, and ironic that some of the most creatively talented and successful people in history can be a complete train wreck when it comes to their personal lives.  Frank Lloyd Wright is a perfect example unfortunately.

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Old Wright

Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility.  I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.” –Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time”. Wright was an innovative, influential and controlling artist (he would design the furnishings for his spaces, dictate their precise placement, and even choose the artwork) and will forever be remembered, respected, and honored for his legacy of work. But how Wright chose to live his personal life probably wouldn’t win any awards, and was also sadly marked by recurring tragedy.

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“Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union” –Frank Lloyd Wright

When Wright was just starting out, his integrity was called into question when it was discovered that he was designing houses “behind the back” of the architectural firm he worked for– Wright was promptly asked to leave. He had no trouble finding work, and the evidence is well documented by the now famous homes (Wright referred to them as his “bootleg” designs) located all around the Oak Park, Chicago area. He set about quickly assembling a team of young draftsmen that would worship and emulate their master in work, and even personal presentation.

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FLW

“Less is only more where more is no good.”  –Frank Lloyd Wright

With all the success and accolades that soon followed came a bloated ego and selfish appetite. Wright thought very highly of himself, and felt that others should too. He went after whatever he desired– it’s told that the famed architect had long struggled to keep his pencil in his pants.

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Fallingwater, also known as the Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. (of Kaufmann’s dept. stores) Residence, was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. The house was built partly over a waterfall in Bear Run at Rural Route 1 in Mill Run, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains.

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taiesin west

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Taliesin West”

Taliesin West (not to be confused with Taliesin) was architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today, it houses The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a school for architects, and is open to the public for tours– located on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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ennis house

Frank Lloyd Wright’s decorative modern Ennis House with its distinctive Bismuth crystal like blocks is the background for the interior of Deckard’s apartment in the film Blade Runner. Elsewhere in the film, famous modern buildings such as Chicago’s Hancock Tower are the influence for sets.

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The Ennis House is both modern and timeless, inventing a genuinely new decorative style – and its in L.A., making it highly appropriate for Blade Runner which mixed old and new to create a vision of the future which wouldn’t date quite as obviously as yesterday’s interpretation of modern.

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A great shot of Deckard’s apartment in the classic Ridley Scott film Blade Runner. 

“Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeves.”  –F.L.W.

The works of Frank Lloyd Wright

9 thoughts on “FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT | THE MASTER’S PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS & PERSONAL MESS

  1. If you look carefully at the first pic of Wright, you’ll notice that his suit-coat is lacking a traditional breast pocket. Intentional and to his personal specifications no doubt… and long before today’s modern menswear designers.

    • mmm …of course, left his crayons on his desk did our frank, but nothing soft about and seamless about the jacket shoulder…. architects love straight lines….musicians leaving spaces between them

  2. I just got back from Scottsdale and after visiting my favorite spot down there (the amazing Ralph Lauren store) we took a tour of Taleisin West. My father is an architect so we got some additional insights that made the tour even better. Correct, Wright was a total mess in his personal life. A pretty amazing building though, especially considering it has not undergone any renovations since it was built in the 30s.

  3. Wow, just found your blog … interesting! Yes, Frank Lloyd Wright was a master (as I heard Toshiko Mori refer to him recently). But, oh, the tragedies that befell him for pursuing his desires. I am fascinated by his personal journey as well as his architectural legacy.

  4. I don’t know which one but either the Ennis House or the Deckard apartment featured in the second Predator film – where the predator killed some gang members.

  5. This is fully strange ! Having only just commented on the mirror image affinity T.S.Y has with my personal passions in life, I decide at random to have a quick squiz at the Falling Water Man’s page and, as these things happen, I thought to myself in the nano second that followed as I gently punched the cursor into Frank’s forehead, “even the likes of an architect fall victim to Genius’ Syndrome in their private lives, I wonder if the “G.A.C” at T.S.Y has ever pontificated on this perpetual curse of the gifted”, and there it is, straight up !! As I previously mentioned, an uncannily kindred spirit ! As I speed toward my half century next year, I have found a fabulous way of taking the best of the past with me and helping my ten year old daughter more fully understand why Daddy is so weird, as with all your ‘devo’-tees, it’s the “stuff” in these pages that has made us who we are – thanks T.S.Y

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