Conserving Wright’s Art
Frank Lloyd Wright was just as particular about the artistic furnishings in his built environments as he was about architectural design. Taliesin, his 1911 National Landmark home in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is no exception: It is here that his collection of Japanese and Chinese painted screens is most abundantly and carefully displayed. Throughout Taliesin, Wright freely adapted panels and paintings to fit his vision for each room. The works that remained as folding screens were secured to the walls and visually integrated by the use of mouldings that repeated the same profile and material used elsewhere in the room.
In recent years, though, it became apparent that these treasured works were becoming compromised in appearance, condition, and potential longevity. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has begun a phased restoration of eight of the screens, which will be treated with Optium Museum Acrylic glazing, a product made by Tru Vue (tru-vue.com). The anti-reflective material is lightweight and abrasion resistant, and it filters up to 99 percent of damaging UV light. Additionally, the coating erases the boundary between the artwork and the viewer, allowing visitors to see and enjoy the screens in an intimate setting without the distraction of glare.
The first piece to be reinstalled is a Japanese painting in the style of 17th century artist Kano Yasunobu, which hangs in the Blue Loggia.
The conservation project is a joint effort by the collections and preservation staff of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation ( franklloydwright.org), Taliesin Preservation (taliesinpreservation .org), and T.K. McClintock of Studio TKM (studiotkm.com).