Friday, July 1, 2011

Red, Wright and Blue

Frank Lloyd Wright may not have been the most patriotic of Americans by today's standards, but one incident in the course of hashing-out the details of the Martin House interior inspired a classic quip on the colors of Old Glory:

Dear Mr. Martin - 

When you put in the Blue terra cotta don't forget the red and the white - let us be patriotic - but say, just build the backing and leave the facing to the glass mosaic man. 
[letter of 13 October, 1904]

Here, Wright playfully chides Martin in order to dissuade his practically-minded client from finishing the central Martin House fireplace with off-the-shelf blue tile.  The more aesthetically-rich, custom mosaic of intertwined wisteria branches, leaves and blossoms, rendered in lustrous, gilded glass tiles, was more in keeping with the "domestic symphony" Wright sought for the Martins' new home.  But apparently, Mr. Martin thought the tile equivalent of a Sousa march would be just fine.

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