Architect Frank Lloyd Wright may be best known for his innovative Prairie School homes, such as Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and the Robie House in Chicago, as well as the spiraling Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But many people may not know that toward the end of his career, he also produced a number of fabrics, wallcoverings, furniture, and paint for sale to the public.
“These fabrics and wallpapers were commercially produced to reach a wide audience of interior designers and homeowners,” says Amelia Peck, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Marica F. Vilcek curator of Decorative Arts in the American Wing and supervising curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. “The patterns remain very appealing, and with the current vogue for renovating mid-century modern homes, I think many of the textiles in the 1955 line would be popular today.” The catalog of Wright’s designs for Schumacher, from 1955, has been scanned in high resolution and is available in its entirety online; Peck says that Schumacher has reissued variations on the designs twice since the original line was produced.
“Frank Lloyd Wright Textiles: The Taliesin Line, 1955–60” opens today at the Met in New York City, and upon first glance, some of the designs look far ahead of their time. Fabrics feature motherboard-esque graphics and bold geometric patterns that still appear fresh and modern today.
Columnar wooden vases produced by Minic Accessories didn’t make the open market in Wright’s time, but they wouldn’t look out of place in any rustic-chic home.
The exhibition explores these retail ventures and puts them into context alongside the museum’s permanent installation of the living room from the Francis W. Little house, which Wright built from 1912 to 1914 in Wayzata, Minnesota. In addition to the Taliesin Line exhibit, “Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for Francis and Mary Little,” will run as a concurrent installation and explore the working relationship between Wright and the Littles through drawings, blueprints, and letters.
“Frank Lloyd Wright Textiles: The Taliesin Line, 1955–60” is open May 20–April 5, 2020, at the Met’s Antonio Ratti Textile Center; “Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for Francis and Mary Little” is open through July 28 in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Galleries, and a second selection of works will be shown July 30–November 12.
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