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AN IMPORTANT OAK SPINDLED ARMCHAIR
The Ward W. Willits House, Highland Park, Illinois, circa 1901, a view of the back of the spindled armchair in the living room. PROPERTY BELONGING TO CLAYTON AND BETTY BAILEY
AN IMPORTANT OAK SPINDLED ARMCHAIR

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, EXECUTED BY JOHN W. AYERS. CO. FOR THE WARD W. WILLITS HOUSE, HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS, CIRCA 1901

Details
AN IMPORTANT OAK SPINDLED ARMCHAIR
Frank Lloyd Wright, Executed by John W. Ayers. Co. for the Ward W. Willits House, Highland Park, Illinois, circa 1901
35¾in. (90.8cm.) high, 24in. (61cm.) wide, 21¾in. (55.3cm.) deep
Provenance
Ward W. Willits
Dr. and Mrs. Poser, owners of Frank Lloyd Wright's Mary Adams house, Highland Park, Illinois, 1905
Bernard Pyron

Lot Essay

Commonly referred to as the first house in the true Prairie style, the Willits house -- with its low horizontal form, wide overhanging roofs, spatial manipulations, living spaces raised above ground level for privacy and expansive views, and floor to ceiling glass windows opposing solid walls -- revealed all the classic features that were to become associated with the aesthetic. The house represents a radical shift in Frank Lloyd Wright's evolving principles about design. Screens and grilles differentiated the rooms and like all Frank Lloyd Wright furnishings, the furniture in the Willits residence was designed to be an integral part of the interior as well as to express the essence of the architectural whole. Spindles were used in every piece Wright designed for the Willits house. Not simply a decorative element, the repetetive spindles defined space and allowed a transference of light. Throughout his career Wright used the spindle configuration in a variety of different ways. The design of this living room armchair at first glance is similar to armchairs in the Bradley House (Kankakee, Illinois, 1900), but here spindles replace slats. While the Willits armchair may appear to be an uncomplicated rectilinear form, its powerful structure is actually quite complex. The chair, an early work for Wright, is imbued with sophistication, simplicity, harmony and, above all, integrity. Like the Willits house high back dining room chairs, it holds an iconic position in design.

cf. Edgar Kauffmann, Jr., Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Work, 1968, p. 59 for an illustration of the model in situ
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