Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful at Portland Museum of Art, Maine, USA (2007)

Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful

Portland Museum of Art, Maine
28 June - 8 October 2007

Press release text by Portland Museum of Art

This summer, the Portland Museum of Art will present Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful, an exhibition showcasing renowned architect Wright’s skill in creating harmony between architecture and interior design while fulfilling the needs of a modern, American lifestyle. With more than 100 original objects including furniture, metalwork, textiles, drawings, publications, and accessories, the exhibition is the first devoted to the noted architect’s decorative and graphic designs since the 1970s. The exhibition will be on view June 28 through October 8, 2007.

During his remarkably prolific, 70-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was committed not only to the development of a truly American style of architecture, but also to the creation of furnishings and accessories that were both functional and beautiful enhancing the surroundings in his revolutionary spaces. Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful will feature objects from the collection of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona, and other public and private collections.

The phrase “House Beautiful” was used in the early 20th century to refer to a principle in architectural and social reform where the quality of life could be improved by restyling the design of the material environment—from terraces to tablespoons. Frank Lloyd Wright’s affinity for this ideal was apparent early in his career in the book he designed, titled The House Beautiful, and it remained central to his thinking about the design of houses throughout his life.

Frank Lloyd Wright believed families would be improved by living in a tasteful and well-designed house. Examples of metalwork, stained glass windows, furniture, light fixtures, drawings and architectural plans, textiles, publications and accessories, and photographs of home interiors combine to tell the story of Wright’s main contributions to modern life in America. This collection presents Wright’s philosophy for creating highly integrated interiors that radiate a sense of inner beauty and modern spirit through the design of furnishings and objects.

The exhibition is divided into three themes that exemplify the methods by which Frank Lloyd Wright implemented the philosophy of the house beautiful. First, it introduces how Wright sought to develop a modern interior reflective of a uniquely American spirit of democracy and individual freedom. Next, the exhibition illustrates his development in integrating the space with furnishings and architectural elements. Lastly, it explores his experiments with bringing these ideas to the homes of average Americans. Each section of the exhibition includes period and contemporary photographs of Wright interiors to provide the context for the original objects on view.

The exhibition was curated by Dr. Virginia T. Boyd of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is accompanied by a catalogue, Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful, written by Virginia T. Boyd and Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

The exhibition tour itinerary is as follows: Naples Museum of Art, Florida (February 14-June 25, 2006); Boise Art Museum, Idaho (July 15-October 22, 2006); Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina (November 9, 2006-February 4, 2007); Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art, Midland, Michigan (March 3-May 27, 2007); Portland Museum of Art (June 28-October 8, 2007); and Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (November 11, 2007-January 20, 2008).

Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful was organized by International Art & Artists, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona. The Portland venue has been sponsored by UnumProvident. Media support has been provided by WCSH 6 and the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

Museum Information
The Portland Museum of Art is located at Seven Congress Square in downtown Portland. The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Museum is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with I.D., $4 for youth ages 6 to 17, and children under 6 are free. The Museum is free on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Museum Cafe and Store. For more information, call [...]