The Letters of Frank Lloyd Wright

Building the Pauson House:  The Letters of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rose Pauson

Alongside newly discovered site photographs and Frank Lloyd Wright’s original drawings, more than 50 previously unpublished letters between Wright (American, 1867–1959) and his client, artist Rose Pauson, chronicle the design and construction of one of the architect’s most creative houses—the Pauson House in Phoenix, Arizona. The letters reveal ongoing debates over bills andvdesign changes and the emotions behind these arguments, offering a rare candid glimpse behind the formal image of Frank Lloyd  Wright. No other book so fully reveals the architect’s personality and working methods through his correspondence with a client.

Edited and introduced by Allan Wright Green, the great-nephew of Rose Pauson, and with a foreword by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer,vdirector of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, the book is available through Pomegranate Press for $24.95:

Pomegranate offers a wide range of art and architecture books, including C. F. A. Voysey: Architect, Designer, Individualist,vEdward Hopper’s New England, and Louis Sullivan: Creating a New American Architecture, all available in March 2011.


Filed under Et Cetera, Inside Scoop, Loco for Local

3 responses to “The Letters of Frank Lloyd Wright

  1. Without equivocation, Frank Lloyd Wright was a brilliant architect but, in my opinion, he was egocentric, arrogant, a philanderer & a cheapskate. A friend of mine went to high school in Scottsdale, Arizona in the late 1950’s. My friend worked in a full-service gas station after school & on Saturday to earn money for college. Once, Mr. Wright came into the station & had the tank of his vehicle filled with gas but, when it came time to pay for his purchase, he said something to the effect of, “Don’t you know who I am & left without paying; leaving the bill to be paid by a teenager. What kind of a person does this? Perhaps, it was a one time thing but . . . I don’t think so. He, probably, routinely expected people to pay his bills/expenses. Thus, I refer to him as Mr. Wrong as in that’s just wrong. If anyone knows another side of this man, please post a comment.
    The following excerpt is from Wikipedia: Abandonment of his family: Some locals noticed Wright’s flirtations, and he developed a reputation in Oak Park( Illinois ) as a man-about-town. His family had grown to six children, and the brood required most of Catherine’s attention. In 1903, Wright designed a house for Edwin Cheney, a neighbor in Oak Park, and immediately took a liking to Cheney’s wife, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Mamah Cheney was a modern woman with interests outside the home. She was an early feminist and Wright viewed her as his intellectual equal. The two fell in love, even though Wright had been married for almost 20 years. Often the two could be seen taking rides in Wright’s automobile through Oak Park, and they became the talk of the town. Wright’s wife, Kitty, sure that this attachment would fade as the others had, refused to grant him a divorce. Neither would Edwin Cheney grant one to Mamah. In 1909, even before the Robie House was completed, Wright and Mamah Cheney eloped to Europe, leaving their own spouses and children behind. The scandal that erupted virtually destroyed Wright’s ability to practice architecture in the United States.
    It’s fine with me if anyone questions my personal statement of opinion regarding Frank Lloyd Wright. We are ALL entitled to our opinions & feelings & in a ‘free society’ we are permitted to express them without fear of reprisal. My comment didn’t come ‘out of the blue’. Yesterday, the World-renowned magazine, Arizona Highways, posted something on Facebook regarding him. Posts invite comments, so, I made a comment based on what my friend had told me & from my own 40 years of researching, studying & following the career & life of Mr. Wright. I first learned of him in college when I studied housing design & architecture. I love the home he designed called ‘Falling Water’ which is in Pennsylvania, USA. The home is spectacular with a design far ahead of its’ time. No doubt, Mr. Wright was genius. However, I PERSONALLY & vehemently feel that just because a person contributes positively to life/society in one manner does not give them license to detract from life/society in another. If you have never read the book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, do so. It has been speculated that all or parts of it were based on the life of Mr. Wright. You might have a different perspective after reading it. To my knowledge, one premise of the book is that the main character ( specultated to be Wright in real life ) thinks that some people have worth & some people don’t. It smacked of the author O’Henry ( his pen name) who wrote about ‘The 400’. O’Henry, also, wrote the famous story, ‘The Gift of The Magi’. I feel strongly, who are we to judge one another’s worth!

  2. Correction: Excuse me, I mean O’Henry’s, The Four Million.

  3. Timeless


    Well this is the breal world we all live in now and it’s a billion times worse than when Wright lived in it. World leaders in every country pull the same stunts and those who support them make excuses for them. Clearly most people don’t care, but as the world moves more towards a disconnected ammoral secularist worldview, you can expect things within all societies to breakdown even further.

    Now having agreed with you, I do like Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of design which seems to mimic the natural world brought about by another designer, even if he didn’t respect other attributes of that same creator.

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