cf. J. Sloan, Light Screens The Complete Leaded-Glass Windows of Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001, pp. 257-263 for more information on this commission.
L. Neufeld, Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex, Buffalo, New York, 2004, p. 17 for an illustration of another window in the 'wisteria' pattern.
Frank Lloyd Wright was the preeminent American architect of the early 20th century. His career was filled with great successes, various pitfalls, personal drama, and eventual elevation to his status as the greatest American architect of the 20th century. In a time when Classicism prevailed in the mainstream, Wright created an entirely new idiom of architectural expression.
Wright's early Prairie style houses are among his most memorable works. In his Prairie houses, as throughout his career, Wright's goal was a cohesive design scheme that ran throughout the architecture and its interior furnishings, an aim which often necessitated specially designed furniture for each commission. Furniture was generally made of wood and created in straight lines and flat planes, with no extraneous ornamentation. Windows, too, were designed to screen light through the use of glass leaded together in geometric pieces.
The Darwin Martin complex in Buffalo, New York, is considered one of his most successful works from his Prairie School period. Built between 1903 and 1905, the complex included two houses, a carriage house, conservatory and other outbuildings. Wright designed not just the building themselves, but as was typical of his all-encompassing vision, he designed all of the windows and interior furnishings as well.
Wright viewed windows as 'light screens', a means of both delineating interior space and unifying the interior with the landscape beyond. This piece, from one of only two doors made for the living room of the house leading onto the East Porch, uses a highly abstracted pattern of wisteria, composed of diminishing squares to indicate the pendulous flowers. Never literal in his designs, the simplicity of the geometric forms, coupled with ample colorless glass, harmonized with the simple lines of the interior and allowed nature to enter the room.