Although I am deeply convinced of the relativity of all appreciation in art, where contemporaries or persons very near to us are concerned, yet in my opinion the figure of Frank Lloyd Wright towers so assuredly above the surrounding world, that I make bold to call him one of the very greatest of this time without fearing that a later generation will have to reject this verdict.
Of such flawless work as his, appearing admits architectural products which, in their lack of style, will have to be designated “nineteenth-century style”; of such unity of conception in the whole and in details; of such a definite expression and straight line of development another example can hardly be given.
Whereas it is a peculiarity of our day, that even the work of the cleverest nearly always betrays how it grew to be such as it is, with Wright everything is, without being at all perceptible any mental exertion to produce. Where others are admired for the talent with which we see them master their material, I revere Wright because the process by which his work came into being remains for me a perfect mystery.
It is no detraction from this reverence, which retained its high degree through the varying phases of my own development, when, asked to give my views on the important, even great influence of Wright on European architecture, I do not call this influence a happy one in all respects.
What happened to that influence might be compared to what occurred with the rise of a “Wright-school” in the West of America. Concerning the latter Wright once wrote in a pessimistic mood, that he grieved to see that the form in which he had expressed his ideas in his works, appeared to have a greater attraction than those ideas themselves. Since those ideas aimed at starting from the function and not from the form, he believed this to be “pernicious” to the development of architecture in general. Continue reading