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Loving Frank Lloyd Wright

September 3, 2008 | 12:28 pm


Terry Teachout writes about "The Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide," a book that explains how to see every house designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The list includes many private homes. Teachout notes that some of the descriptions imply stories untold:

The island is approachable only by boat. The island is guarded by dogs and a gate prevents getting past the dock. Only a small portion of the building can be seen from the water. The trained dogs are ever-present and have been known to chase passing boats" (A.K. Chahroudi Cottage, Mahopac, New York).

If you'd rather not sneak past the dogs, the novel "Loving Frank," by Nancy Horan, creates a fictional picture of the architect and his mistress, Martha "Mamah" Borthwick Cheney. Our reviewer writes, "Horan does a beautiful job of shading in the portrait of this artist-genius, from the scene of Wright rearranging the furniture in a fancy Berlin hotel room to his justifying all kinds of purchases he can’t afford as things he needs for his work."

If Wright were designing houses today, he might be able to afford a little more. The Millard House, a four-bedroom textile block house also known as La Miniatura, is for sale in Pasadena for $7.7 million. Other Wright houses are for sale as well, but expect to prove you're a serious buyer if you want a walk-through.

Here in Los Angeles, an easier way to see his work is to visit his Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Complex. Tonight, UCLA history and architecture professor Thomas Heinz will give free a lecture — in the gallery, not the house. The lecture will be titled "Modern Architecture and the Los Angeles Film Community."  House tours, which, according to staff, have recently been drawing "Loving Frank" readers, are $7.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo of Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House: Dale Kutzera / For The Times