Monday, November 07, 2005

Frank Lloyd Wright's Right-Hand Woman


Marion Mahony Griffin: Drawing the Form of Nature, an exhibition at Evanston's Block Museum, brings the work and career of Marion Mahony, the first woman to be licensed as an architect, out of the shadow of her collaborators Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin. Read all about her remarkable career and rediscovered legacy here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Lynn Becker (or site administrator/author),

Thank you for the great article on Mary Mahoney on "Repeat," it was fascinating. I wanted to point out one minor unexpected statement that is in all likelihood an oversight on the author's part. Namely, ranking Mahoney as a superior to FL Wright is fully understandable, but ranking him above "European masters" such as "Adolph Loos" (it's actually Adolf Loos) is to suggest that somehow Loos was highly respected as a draftsman. He was not. He was VERY respected as an architect, and rightly so. His drawing skills, however, were minimal, because A) he failed out of the Technical University of Dresden after 1 semester, never completing any formal architectural education, and
B) he had Paul Engelmann, a close friend and architect, sign all the drawings for his designs (and even delineate many of them, as Mahoney did for Wright) so he could have an actual, registered architect submit his building designs to the City of Vienna for legal approval.

In short, Loos was no European master of delineation or rendering, even though he is certainly a very great European master of architecture and design. I write on Loos in my essay, "Adolf Loos and the Aphoristic Style: Rhetorical Practice in Early Twentieth-Century Design Criticism," in the journal Design Issues 16 (Summer 2000): 75-86, and have been fortunate to live and research in Vienna for some time.

Respectfully,

John Maciuika

John Maciuika
Assistant Professor of Art and Architectural History
Baruch College of CUNY
Department of Fine and Performing Arts
55 Lexington Avenue (at 24th St.)
Box B7-235
New York, NY 10010-5585
T 646 312 4069

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Anonymous said...

There is a building on the campus of the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) that was (is?) used for the ceramics and scuplture programs that is said to have been designed by the Griffins as they were passing through on their way to the west coast and on to Australia? Very distinctive and very much within the range of their stylistic apprach to Prairie architecture. Any additional information about this building?

Jim Harris said...

My wife and I were in Mason City this weekend and toured the Park Inn hotel.
There were multiple prairie school architects (including Walter B.Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin) involved in designs of a group of homes near the hotel.
There was a question/discussion session at the end of the hotel tour
during which, I commented that W.B. Griffin had met Marion Mahoney
when he worked for Frank Lloyd Wright. There was a another couple on the tour and the lady voiced in and commented that FLW may have taken credit for some of Marion's work. I could only say "hmmm", as I had never heard that before,
and had no knowledge to support any agreement nor to disagree; I just thought it was
quite a bold statement, but it stuck with me.
I've been reading the stories, and exploring this since last night.
In comparing FLW's work before and after Marion joined him in 1895
I can only say the pictorial evidence for this claim is quite substantial.
I have visited many FLW sights, and have considered myself at least a moderate fan, but I do appreciate this lady's speaking up.
I've read that Frank's mother was determined to make him an architect since he was a boy. In considering that and all of this M.M.H. story I'm thinking that maybe Frank's ego, psyche, and motives had been driven, and like a pressure cooker- conjecture. But the big story here is the apparent little known story of greatness of one Marion Mahoney Griffin. I hope that a full and accurate presentation of the truth will straighten all of this out. I'll be reading and paying attention.
Anyone know where to read the most up to date and accurate info? I'd be interested.
Wow! This may be one of happiest and saddest of American stories. I am floored.
Jim Harris