Sunday, July 14, 2013


Roland and Ronny Reisley and Frank Lloyd Wright c1951 (Photo: Artnetnews4)

I'm off for a few days to visit Roland Reisley at his home in Pleasantville, New York. Roland and Ronny built the house in 1951 but with the arrival of children Wright was asked to return five years later to enlarge it. Roland writes in Usonia, New York: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (New York, 2001): 

Frank Lloyd Wright's towering stature as an architect brought much interest in his colorful life and personality. Distorted facts and embellished anecdotes have contributed to a widely accepted, disparaging characterization of Wright as totally self serving, disinterested in his clients' functional needs and budget, and careless about the performance of his designs. Unfortunately that view has interfered with understanding the significance of Wright's work. I am personally acquainted with many of Wright's clients. Those who built with him recount entirely positive experiences, while many who did  not build have complaints.

And Ronny had this to say:

He was always warm and responsive to me. I resent it when some historians say that Wright's clients were dominated by his personality. I was 'dominated' by the work, the artistry -- not personality. It is fair to note Wright's concentration, his focus on whatever he was doing. In conversation he listened and spoke with interest.

My own interest in the Reisley House concerns the experiential -- questions of sound, the tactile, and the kinesthetic. More on this when I get back next week.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Roland and Ronny Reisley House, Pleasantvilly, N.Y., 1951 and 1956

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