Con­serv­ing Wright’s Art

Arts and Crafts Homes - - UP FRONT -

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).

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