David G. Wilkins, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, is Study Leader for our Frank Lloyd Wright and Fallingwater tour. Click here to read David’s full bio.
Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is still a thrill for me, even though I have been there many times since my first visit in 1968. I first saw the home shortly after it was given to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., son of the original patrons, Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann. At the time, the house was little more than thirty years old and I was 29. It struck me as a starkly modern masterpiece that deserved greater attention.
When I returned for a second visit a few years later, I found that the house and its adjacent guest cottage, also designed by Wright, had been transformed by the addition of a number of original possessions owned by the Kaufmann family. At first glance, these works, designed by Tiffany as well as other artists and artisans, seemed inappropriate for Wright’s architecture. Subsequent visits convinced me that the furnishings humanized the house and made it more accessible. It now seems like a place where real people lived, a place where I could live. (more…)