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Photo courtesy of the Martin House Restoration Corporation.

Photo courtesy of the Martin House Restoration Corporation.

Furniture from the Darwin D. Martin House

On View Friday, March 11–Sunday, September 25, 2016

Furniture from the Darwin D. Martin House provides a unique opportunity for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Because of major on-site interior restoration work at the Darwin D. Martin House and the great collaborative relationships that the cultural institutions in Buffalo enjoy we are able to provide the community and visitors a rare experience. 

Recognized as a masterpiece, bringing all elements of design together in architecture and furniture, the Martin House is a great Wright symphony. Every detail from landscape to dining room table the expression of aesthetic values comes into play when visiting this home and campus like assemblage of buildings. A National Historic Landmark in a city celebrated for incredible architecture, understanding usually comes from the parts in pieces being together to understand the whole. With great design, though, it is when we pull apart the elements and look at them on their own in a new context that we really appreciate their value. 

In 1999, the Burchfield Penney Art Center was fortunate to work with guest curator, Theodore Lownie of Hamilton Houston Lownie Architect, P.C on the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright / Windows from the Darwin D. Martin Complex. At that time, much earlier in the restoration of the Martin House considered how the design of the windows and their relationship with each other provided a harmony and balance within a designed space. 

Just as the examination of windows, out of context, provided new appreciation, so too does this selection of furniture. What would be, by any other designer/manufacture, an assemblage of dis-coordinate domestic fare, in Wright’s case they become exquisite sculptures. Although we are unable to take the tours to see them in their ‘natural’ setting, looking at them alone gives us the opportunity to be reinvigorated and prepare for their return. 

At the end of September, when these objects return to their home, we can bring with them a more intimate knowledge of them and the role that they play in the orchestration that is Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece.

All furnishings will be returned in September following the conclusion of the on-site work.

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