Fay Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright:
Organic Architecture Comes to Arkansas
This digital exhibit has its origins in the 10-year intersection of lives of notable architects Fay Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright, from 1949 until Wright’s death in 1959. The two met by chance when they were attending the conference of the American Institute of Architects in Houston, Texas, where Wright was awarded the AIA Gold Medal. In the early 1950s Jones and Wright met again while Jones was teaching at the University of Oklahoma. Subsequently, in 1953, Jones was accepted for an architectural Fellowship at Taliesin, Wright’s home and design institute near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Jones and his family continued to visit Taliesin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, throughout that time period, especially at the invitation of the Wrights to attend the gala Easter celebrations.
This digital exhibit stems from another of the Jones-Wright intersections: the acquisition and re-location of the Wright-designed Usonian-style Bachman-Wilson residence by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to northwest Arkansas, where Jones resided, taught, and designed from 1953 until his death in 2004. The exhibit continues that intersection with images and writings that offer comparisons and contrasts of the architectural styles and philosophies of these two great architects.
Using this website
The 137-image exhibit offers a rich collection of materials, including early correspondence between Jones and Wright, telegrams, snapshots, personal observations, vignettes, and professional architectural photographs that illustrate the close personal relationship between the two and their families. The undeniable architectural influence of Wright on Jones’s development as architect is also shown through musings on their architectural styles and goals, and images of their architectural output.
From Fay Jones’s anticipation of his upcoming Taliesin apprenticeship to previously unpublished images of the extraordinary Easter celebrations hosted by the Wrights, and from images of work of both architects and Jones’s own carefully considered reflections on Wright’s role in his life--this exhibit provides new perspective to these men, their relationship and their architecture. The images begin with Taliesin, explore the influence of Wright on Jones’s work, follow relationships that were central to the Taliesin experience, reveal the continued importance of Wright to Jones, and illustrate the Bachman-Wilson House, a 1953 example of Wright’s Usonian principles. Users can search by architect, keyword, location, etc., with detailed descriptions and notes included as appropriate.
Images were scanned at 600 dpi whenever possible, using an Epson Expression 1640 XL color scanner. A Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 scanner was used to digitize the slides taken by Jones. CONTENTdm digital asset management software from OCLC was used for creating the metadata. Library of Congress Subject Headings and Name Authorities, the Art and Architectural Thesaurus, and Dublin Core were used to provide standard access for search terms. The timeline is based primarily on the tables and text from the University of Arkansas Special Collections Projects Catalog of Fay Jones, found at http://libraries.uark.edu/specialcollections/manuscripts/fayjones/projects.asp; The Arkansas Designs of E. Fay Jones, 1956-1997, by Cheryl Nichols and Helen Barry; and Fay Jones: the Architecture of E. Fay Jones, by Robert A. Ivy.
This is the second collaborative digital exhibit that Crystal Bridges Museum and the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections have undertaken. (See the “Fruit-full Arkansas: Apples” digital exhibit at http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/apples.) Team members from Crystal Bridges were led by Catherine Petersen and included Jennifer De Martino. At the University of Arkansas, Janet Parsch coordinated efforts by Jason W. Dean, Angela Fritz, Deb Kulczak, Arthur Morgan, Tim Nutt, Martha Parker, and Cat Wallack, project curator. Gregory Herman, associate professor in the Fay Jones School of Architecture, was a contributor to the project. University Libraries appreciates the continuing active involvement and support of Fay and Gus Jones’s daughters, Cami and Janis. The online project was released to the public in January 2015.