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Frank Lloyd Wright Colors at the New York Guggenheim

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Wright Sees Red at the Guggenheim
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum rendered in ink and pencil on tracing paper, by Frank Lloyd Wright

Early sketches by Frank Lloyd Wright imagine the Guggenheim Museum in various shades of red. This rendering was part of a 2009 exhibition at the Guggenheim.

FLLW FDN # 4305.745 © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona
Wright didn't like white. His original ideas for the Guggenheim Museum were anything but. Writing to Hilla Rebay, art advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim, architect Frank Lloyd Wright suggested a rainbow of colors.

A drawing dated January 1944 showed a polygonal structure with blue accents. Frank Lloyd Wright also proposed black marble, pink, peach, and, most dramatically, Cherokee red.

Made with iron oxide, Cherokee red is the earthy color that Frank Lloyd Wright used for interior spaces at Fallingwater and many other landmark homes. Cherokee red is often matched to Pittsburgh Paints color #6432-7, but can range from dark to bright.

Calling red "the color of creation," Frank Lloyd Wright proposed that the Guggenheim Museum be constructed with red marble walls, long-slim pottery red bricks, and weathered green copper banding.

Frank Lloyd Wright's early color ideas were never seriously considered.

"Red is a color which displeases S. R. G. as much as it does me," Hilla Rebay told Wright.

Next: The Guggenheim Goes Yellow

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