Kirkland Museum celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright all year long, and we’re happy guests at the party.
At Kirkland Museum, 2022 is a yearlong celebration of American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius. The focus on Wright includes an exhibition exploring the repatriation of two windows in the museum’s collection that are currently installed within a wall next to the museum’s entrance. In mid-April, the windows are being removed and returned to their original home—the Martin House—in Buffalo, New York.
Wright designed the windows along with an ambitious home for Darwin D. Martin, a prominent businessman, and his family. Built between 1903 and 1905, the 14,978 square foot home, according to the Martin House website, is “characterized largely by its expansive size, open spatial plan, and organic design principles drawing inspiration from nature.” Wright called it a “domestic symphony.”
The narrower of the two windows bears Wright’s most famous pattern, the Tree of Life. Associate Museum Director Renée Albiston says that “although it was the most famous and iconic of Wright’s designs, the Martin House is the only home it appeared in.”
As a cultural gatekeeper, the Kirkland felt it was important to repatriate the windows when the Martin House asked. “As a cultural institution, you want to see important objects like these put back in their original context if it’s possible to do that,” Albiston reflects.
After careful extraction and packaging, the windows will be transported to the Martin House, now a museum, and reinstalled in their original locations. No two windows in the home were the same, so the Tree of Life window will return to a child’s bedroom from whence it came.
The Kirkland’s celebration of Wright continues in June with the opening of Frank Lloyd Wright: Inside the Walls. The exhibition highlights decorative art objects designed by Wright and 11 of his architectural projects. Albiston adds, “We’re pulling the objects related to those buildings from our permanent collection too.”
The year of Wright includes opportunities to learn from experts. On August 3, the President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West will lecture on the expression of unity in Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. And on October 13, Julie Sloan, a New York-based expert on Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained and architectural glass, will lecture on the subject of glass pieces featured in Kirkland Museum’s exhibition.
Header Image: Armchair and Ottoman designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) for the Robert D. Winn Residence in Kalamazoo, MI, 1950, wood with cloth upholstery. Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver.