Modernist 20th Century /06 June 2004

180

Frank Lloyd Wright

desk for The Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
USA, 1952
mahogany, brass, copper
72 w × 26 d × 28 h in (183 × 66 × 71 cm)

Frank Lloyd Wright called Price Tower "the tree that escaped the crowded forest." Commissioned by Harold C. Price, founder of H.C. Price Company, Price Tower was completed in 1956. The nineteen-story building was based on a design originally conceived for St. Mark's in New York City and is Wright's tallest building. Wright had a distain for perpendicular lines in his designs, and the desk exhibits the angularity that is repeated throughout the floor plan and exterior of the Tower. A rarity at auction, this desk is one of only a handful removed from the building.

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $33,040

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Frank Lloyd Wright 1867–1959

During his seventy year career as an architect, Frank Lloyd Wright created more than 1,100 designs, half of which were realized and a large portion of which came about later in his life. Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1885 to study civil engineering, completing only two years of the program. After working for Joseph Silsbee on the construction of the Unity Chapel in Oak Park, Illinois Wright decided to pursue a career in architecture and he moved to Chicago where he began an apprenticeship at the famed architectural firm Adler and Sullivan, working directly with Louis Sullivan until 1893.

After parting ways, Wright moved to Oak Park. Working from his home studio, he developed a system of design developed from grid units and rooted in an appreciation of natural materials that would come to be known as the Prairie School of Architecture and would change the landscape of American design forever. Wright devoted himself to teaching and writing during the 1920s and 1930s. 1935 marked the beginning of an immense surge of creativity and productivity as he began work on his most celebrated residential design, Fallingwater. In the 1940s and 1950s Wright focused on his Usonian designs that reflected his belief in democratic architecture, offering middle-class residential options. In 1943, Wright took on his most demanding commission, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The museum, which would open its doors six months after his death in 1959, would be called his most significant work.

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