The extent to which Wright's clients, and the American society in general, "bought" this persona is a window into a cultural phenomenon: the public consumption of an icon. As Wright passed in and out of style in the housing marketplace, his reputation played a large roll in shaping this public perception. Public approval or disapproval of Wright's designs increasingly reflected their judgement of Wright's personal actions. There is a direct correlation between the fluctuations in Wright's personal reputation and the public attitudes toward his architectural designs.
To reveal this interplay between Wright and the American public, Wright's career can be dissected into three phases, which each correspond to a particular style of architecture which he offered as his vision of the American family: the prairie home, Wright's own Taliesin I, and the Usonian home. In viewing these three designs, we see two major changes in Wright's "marketing strategy." While the prairie home stood upon the integrity of its own design, Wright's own persona became more and more intertwined with his designs. In the end, Wright's homes were popular in their ability to capture the mass appeal of Wright's personality, not his design ingenuity.
Descriptions of the styles listed above can be viewed by clicking on the periods listed below:
The Prairie House
Taliesin I (the "Outlaw Years)
The Usonian Home
Wright's later fame as an American icon, which does not fit neatly into a particular stlye of his architecture, is discussed in the section:
"Wright Cannot Be Wrong"
Clicking on this graphic when it appears will return you to this home page.
Clicking on this one will forward you into the next section.
At any time, you can click on the "BACK" icon on the top of the screen to return to the previous section. When viewing pictures through the blue "hotwords," this command is useful.
You can also view the images imbedded within each section by clicking on them below:
Wright portrait 1889
Wright with wife Olgivanna, 1940's
Wright fashion portrait 1
Wright fashion portrait 2
Wright fashion portrait 3
Wright fashion portrait 4
Wright recieves AIA Award, 1954
Images from Wright's "A Home in a Prairie Town" article in Ladie's Home Journal (February 1901)
Interior floor plan
Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1894)
Robie House in Chicago, Illinois (1907)
Wright's elevation plan
View of Taliesin with Spring Green in background
View of walled gardens
Herbert Jacobs House, Madison, Wisc. (1936)
Usonian dining area/kitchen
Usonian living area
Interior of exhibition house, MOMA 1950's
Jacobs House interior plan