Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, ca. 1943–59, gouache on paper mounted on board, 20 × 24 1/4".

ALMOST A CENTURY AGO, the world was already trying to have the last word on Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1940, New York’s Museum of Modern Art grandly proclaimed that its upcoming exhibition of the American master’s work would be “the first attempt to show the entire range of his astonishing architectural career.” In retrospect, this presumption of totality seems reasonable enough. Wright was already seventy-three, and the museum had assembled more than five decades of his designs, including several recently constructed masterpieces—the iconic Fallingwater house from 1937 among them—that felt like the crowning achievements of an extraordinarily protean career. As it turned out, however, the show was anything but comprehensive. Afterward, Wright would work furiously for another nineteen years, producing many of his most famous projects during that final period, including the

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