New in 2014: Ceiling Lamp by Frank Lloyd Wright

By | December 28, 2014

We’re celebrating the end of the year by highlighting major art acquisitions. Make sure to read earlier posts about 2014 additions to the collection.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, American, 1867–1959 Ceiling Lamp, from the Francis W. Little House, Peoria, Illinois, 1902–3; glass, copper alloy, and zinc; 29 x 16 x 16 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Richard Brumbaugh Trust in memory of Richard Irving Brumbaugh and Grace Lischer Brumbaugh, Marjorie Wyman Endowment Fund, and Friends Endowment Fund © 2014 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY 1:2014

In late 2013, the Art Museum made headlines after its Board of Commissioners authorized staff to make an offer on a pendant fixture Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the Francis W. Little House, in Peoria, Illinois. The Museum closed on the purchase early in 2014, and the fixture is now on view in Gallery 129.

The fixture — titled Ceiling Lamp, from the Francis W. Little House, Peoria, Illinois — is made from iridescent glass, zinc, and bronze and dates to about 1902-1903.

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.

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David Conradsen

David Conradsen, the associate curator of decorative arts and design, said in an acquisition proposal that the fixture’s design reduced the object and its parts to elemental geometry.

“This grammar of geometric forms echoes the geometry of the house in plan and elevation,” Conradsen said.  “The fixture was also one element in Wright’s Gesamtkunstwerk—or total work of art—in which the interior architecture—walls, windows, light fixtures, and furniture—developed from a shared design language and combined to produce a unified design experience.”

 

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