20th and 21st Century Design American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

MAM Celebrates 150 Years of Frank Lloyd Wright: Part One: Presenting Prairie Style

Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). “Tree of Life” Window from the Darwin D. Martin House (Buffalo, New York), 1904 (detail). Glass with zinc cames. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Frederick Layton Art League in memory of Miss Charlotte Partridge and Miss Miriam Frink M1978.262. Photo credit: Richard Beauchamp. © Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

This year marks a whopping 150 years since the birth of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

As institutions across the United States host specials exhibitions and events to mark the occasion, the Milwaukee Art Museum has particular reason to celebrate: although Wright has come to represent Midwestern and American architecture at large, he was born and spent much of his life in our own beloved state of Wisconsin.

Wright’s first home was the small farming community of Richland Center, Wisconsin, where he was born in 1867. Wright also spent most of his childhood in Wisconsin (his family relocated briefly to Massachusetts when he was nine), and he attended both high school and college in Madison.

Wright left Wisconsin after college, jumpstarting his career as an apprentice for modern architect Louis Sullivan (American, 1856–1924) in Chicago, completing commissions throughout the United States, and even making an extended trip to Europe.

Art Exhibitions Library/Archives

The ‘American Engineer’, My ‘Big Chief’… Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography.  Frank Lloyd Wright.  London: Longman’s, Green and Co., 1932.
Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography. Frank Lloyd Wright. London: Longman’s, Green and Co., 1932.

As we approach the opening of Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century (February 12–May 15, 2011) this is the perfect opportunity to highlight one of the library’s most interesting volumes:  a first edition of Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography (1932).

Written with wit and charm, Frank Lloyd Wright’s (1867–1959) An Autobiography is an account of the master architect’s philosophy and work, as well as the story of his personal life, turmoil and all.  From his youth in rural Wisconsin to his apprenticeship with Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in Chicago (where Wright found inspiration for his signature style), through to the tragic fire and murders at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s autobiography tells the tale of a man that was truly larger than life.