Frank Lloyd Wright: Architect

Feb 20–May 10, 1994

MoMA

Frank Lloyd Wright. Frieze from the Susan Lawrence Dana House, Springfield, Illinois. 1902–1904. Plaster and paint, 55 1/4 × 24 5/8 × 1 3/4″ (140.3 × 62.5 × 4.4 cm). Gift of Don Magner and Edgar Smith. © 2016 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

The Museum of Modern Art included Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in its inaugural architectural exhibition, Modern Architecture, International Exhibition, in 1932. The inclusion was an uneasy one. Organizers Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock acknowledged the genius of Wright’s earlier work, but saw Europe as the cutting edge of architectural innovation. Wright himself rejected the International Style and was offended by being grouped with other architects.

Wright’s achievements of the late 1930s forced a re-evaluation of his position. In 1940, the Museum mounted Frank Lloyd Wright: American Architect, a major retrospective of his work to date. Wright himself arrived with an entourage of apprentices, amid a fanfare of publicity, to supervise the installation of the one-man show. In 1962, three years after his death, the architect’s lifetime achievements were surveyed in Frank Lloyd Wright Drawings.

Individual Wright projects were the subject of a series of focused exhibitions during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The single-project exhibitions began in 1938, with Fallingwater. This was followed by A New Country House (1946), featuring Wright’s model for the then-unbuilt G.M. Loeb House in Redding, Connecticut; Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin and Taliesin West (1947); and Frank Lloyd Wright: A New Theatre (1949). In 1952, Frank Lloyd Wright: Building for Johnson’s Wax Company was installed as a peep show of three-dimensional slides in individual viewers. The Museum’s last single-monument exhibition of Wright’s work took place in 1963, when a display of new color photographs of Fallingwater honored the recent gift of the house by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

The Museum continued its celebration of Wright as an American master in the survey exhibitions Three Centuries of American Art, 1609–1938 (prepared in 1938 for the Jeu de Paume, Paris), where the Robie House (1908–10) appeared in the architecture section, and in its tenth anniversary exhibition, Art in Our Time (1939), where the Robie House was joined by the more recent Jacobs House (1936–37). The Museum’s fifteenth anniversary show, Art in Progress (1944), included Wright’s work, but was more cautious in affirming his influence on contemporary modern architecture. Wright’s designs for the Pittsburgh Civic Center and the Mile High Skyscraper appeared in Visionary Architecture (1960), and his Unity Church (1905-08) opened the exhibition Modern Architecture USA (1965).

Other Museum of Modern Art exhibitions in which Wright’s works have appeared were Early Modern Architecture, Chicago 1870–1910 (1933); What Is Modern Architecture? (circulating, 1938–44); Modern Rooms of the Last 50 Years (circulating, 1946); A Bid for Space (1959); and The New City: Architecture and Urban Renewal (1967).

Publications

  • Frank Lloyd Wright, architect Out of print, 352 pages
  • Frank Lloyd Wright, architect Out of print, 362 pages
  • 2 pages

Artist

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].