With the 150th anniversary this summer of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW for short) — he was born on 8 June 1867 — the FLW industry is in overdrive, at least on the other side of the Atlantic. From Fallingwater through Oak Park to Taliesin West, the business of promoting, reinterpreting and appropriating FLW is in full swing.
Wright’s aesthetics were very American, but his influence spread beyond the New World, and FLW himself adopted elements of design traditions developed outside the Americas. So it’s interesting to run across a new study celebrating FLW as a truly international architect rather than simply contextualising his work within his prairie homeland.
Gwyn Lloyd Jones’ Travels with Frank Lloyd Wright: The First Global Architect was published in May this year. So perfect timing to catch that FLW 150 wave. This is no coffee-table diversion; indeed the book rather skimps on pictures and the images used are anything but glossy. It is, rather, a serious look at FLW’s global connections. The architect’s links with Japan are relatively well known, but FLW’s European associations have not received as much attention. In this respect Jones’ work is very much to be welcomed. It builds upon Anthony Alofsin’s earlier work (whose seminal Frank Lloyd Wright: The Lost Years, 1910–1922 was published by University of Chicago Press in 1993) to give a comprehensive account of FLW’s encounters outside America.
For readers of hidden europe, Jones’ book will appeal because of its strong European coverage.