FLWVenture

by Eric Jackson-Forsberg

When Frank Lloyd Wright inscribed a copy of his Autobiography to Darwin and Isabelle Martin of Buffalo, he characterized their role in supporting his career as an architect in characteristically dramatic terms: “To Darwin D. Martin and his wife—hero and heroine of this tale—with esteem, affection and gratitude from their architect – Frank Lloyd Wright.” But, aside from the definitive, Prairie-era commission of the Martin House Complex (1903-05), how did the unassuming Martins warrant such top billing in Wright’s self-styled biographical drama? Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo Venture: From the Larkin Building to Broadacre City, coming to the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery October 2 – December 30, will illustrate the depth and breadth of the Martins’ role in sustaining the work of America’s greatest 20th century architect.

Curated by Jack Quinan, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Visual Studies at UB and a leading Wright scholar, this exhibition opens in conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s meeting in Buffalo. The group is dedicated to saving Wright’s built work, and Quinan was a founding stakeholder. Through more than 130 objects including drawings, photographs, models and original Wright furnishings, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo Venture will explore the rich story of the Martins’ patronage, from the Larkin Building—seminal to European modernism and Buffalo’s greatest architectural loss (and the logo for the Conservancy itself) to unsung, unbuilt projects such as the Rosenwald School for “Negro Children.” The exhibition will make the case that, while Wright’s best-known clients may be larger-than-life figures like Susan Lawrence Dana, Solomon Guggenheim or Edgar J. Kaufmann, his most important client might just be an obsessive, self-made accountant from Buffalo, NY.

The UB Anderson Gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM and Sunday, 1 – 5 PM. Admission is free. Visit www.ubartgalleries.org

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