177
177

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DANIEL WOLF

Frank Lloyd Wright
ARMCHAIR FROM THE LARKIN ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Estimate
80,000120,000
JUMP TO LOT
177

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DANIEL WOLF

Frank Lloyd Wright
ARMCHAIR FROM THE LARKIN ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Estimate
80,000120,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Design

|
New York

Frank Lloyd Wright
ARMCHAIR FROM THE LARKIN ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, BUFFALO, NEW YORK
painted metal, wood, original leather upholstery, original casters
37 1/4  x 24 3/8  x 21 in. (94.6 x 61.9 x 53.3 cm)
circa 1904
executed by Van Dorn Iron Works Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Larkin Administration Building, Buffalo, New York
Domino’s Center for Architecture and Design, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Christie's New York, December 12, 1992, lot 157
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Frank Lloyd Wright: Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Decorative Designs from the Domino's Pizza Collection, Seattle Art Museum, December 1989-February 1990; The Chicago Historical Society, March-June 1990; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, July-September 1990; Denver Art Museum, October 1990-January 1991; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, February-April 1991; Dallas Museum of Art, May-July 1991; American Craft Museum, New York, August 1991-January 1992

Literature

Frank Lloyd Wright, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright, Berlin, 1910, pl. XXXIII (for a lithograph of the Larkin Administration Building interior showing the model) 
David A. Hanks, The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 1979, pp. 86 (for a period photograph of the model in situ at the Larkin Administration Building, Buffalo, New York) and 87
The Early Work of Frank Lloyd Wright: The "Ausgeführte Bauten" of 1911, New York, 1982, pp. 134 and 137 (for period photographs of the model in situ at the Larkin Administration Building, Buffalo, New York)
Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Frank Lloyd Wright at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, pp. 4 (for a period photograph of the model in the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright’s Work at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1907) and 19
Frank Lloyd Wright: Art in Design, exh. cat., Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, 1983, pp. 20-21 (for period photographs of the model in situ at the Larkin Administration Building, Buffalo, New York)
H. Allen Brooks, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School, New York, 1984, p. 59 (for a period photograph of the model in situ at the Larkin Administration Building, Buffalo, New York)
David A. Hanks, Frank Lloyd Wright, Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Decorative Designs from The Domino's Pizza Collection, exh. cat., New York, 1989, p. 53 (for the present lot illustrated)
Thomas A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright: Interiors and Furniture, New York, 1994, pp. 77 and 81
Donald Hoffmann, Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana House, Mineola, 1996, p. 105 (for a period photograph of the model in the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright’s Work at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1907)
Kathryn Smith, Wright on Exhibit: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Exhibitions, Princeton, 2017, pp. 18 and 20 (for period photographs of the model in the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright’s Work at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1907)

Catalogue Note

The Larkin Administration Building was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first major commercial project.  He was recommended for the job by his important patron and friend Darwin D. Martin, who was secretary to the mail-order soap company.  In his design for the Larkin Building, which was strategically seated within a web of railroadlines, Wright addressed every imaginable detail to ensure the highest-quality work environment—one that was technologically advanced, safe, efficient, and visually compelling.  The exterior architecture was severe and strictly geometric, its imposing facades protecting employees from railway fumes, but the interior opened up to a sun-lit Roman-style atrium which served as the primary workspace.  Wright incorproated an air-conditioning system, which had been invented only a few months prior, and used glass, metal, brick and concrete—a sharp departure from his preference for wood—to fireproof the building.

Wright made all the same considerations when designing the furnishings for the building.  In his 1932 autobiography, he explained: “All the furniture was made in steel and built into place… and I made new inventions… All were intended to simplify cleaning and make operation easy.”  The present office chair exemplifies Wright’s integration of form and function.  It is the first instance in which Wright used metal, not wood, to make office furniture.  The swiveling seat, tilting backrest, and cruciform pedestal base on casters ensured comfort and utility, and its strongly geometric form created visual continuity between the architecture and the interior furnishings.

In 1907, Wright presented one such Larkin Building chair in the Chicago Architectural Club 20th Annual Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Wright displayed his most important and seminal works in this exhibition, underscoring his own high regard for this chair form.  Few examples of the chair were salvaged from the Larkin Building before its demolition in 1950, making the present offering a rare opportunity to acquire a work of American architectural history.

Important Design

|
New York