New on view: Frank Lloyd Wright fixture

By | April 10, 2014

FLW lampThe Museum recently purchased a stunning hanging lamp designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it’s on view now in Gallery 129.

The fixture — titled Ceiling Lamp, from the Francis W. Little House, Peoria, Illinois — made from iridescent glass, zinc, and bronze and dating to circa 1902/1903. It’s one of two designed by Wright for the Francis W. Little House, in Peoria, Illinois. Curators long have sought additional works by Wright, America’s most important 20th century architect, to complement the iconic tall-back Dining Chair, from the Ward W. Willits House, Highland Park, Illinois. Like the Willits house, the Little house is an example of Wright’s Prairie School architecture. It features sloping roof lines, sheltering overhangs, and low terraces that responded to the “quiet level” of Wright’s native Midwestern landscape.

Wright’s progressive design aesthetic reduced and simplified forms to rectilinear shapes and straight lines. The lamp’s horizontal shade is a rhythmic composition of squares and rectangles, some set with iridescent colored glass and some left open. The light box below and the fixture’s bronze hanging structures are cubes and elongated rectangles. By designing each element of his interiors—from furniture to art glass windows and lamps—Wright made each of his Prairie School homes total works of art.