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Lot 81: Wright, Frank Lloyd. An interesting pair of letters written by the architect to his wife.Platinum House
July 11, 2014
Calabasas, CA, USALive Auction
81. Wright, Frank Lloyd. An interesting pair of letters written by the architect to his wife, whom he was estranged from at the time. He is a renowned architect known for his ability to construct fascinating structures that marry with nature, such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim museum.
Autograph letter signed (“Frank”), 2 pages (11x8 ½ in.; 279 x 216 mm). Miyako Hotel, Kyoto stationery, 11 June [no year], To the woman by my side, his estranged wife, Miriam; with original envelope.
He writes in full: A few little presents instead of words—they are less treacherous and ambiguous. Two little gold lacquer boxes—one of which will hold the ‘face paper’—the other something else. One larger gold box for ‘something else’. All three, treasures of the first order. Antiques. A couple of pieces of rare old brocade. [Keio] period—accompanied by illustrated plate made from it for a work on brocade now being published—to be used for a turban for ‘the woman’ in such manner as to yield its beauty to enhance hers without injury. I imagine it crowning her bronze hair and glorifying her lovely face. There was never, nor will [there] be another like it. A box of 41 pcs of old hair pins—a new discovery in collecting—old Tokugawa period silver and gold—to make stick p ins, or hat pins or hair pins—the points can be sharpened you see. To interest her a little. She will say she would rather have the money but I came here to pay my bills and Hayashi told me to pick out something for about 100 yen, to show his appreciation of my visit. I picked the boxes for you. At Nomuros I remembered your longing for this piece and bought it at a bargain for 40 yen—It will make a better hat than the sable and a rare one so do not say anything derogatory… The hair pins I selected from Nomuros collection at 1 yen each-they were so astonishingly cheap I fell at once. I remember the taunt that I had been careful not to give you cash. I will give you that too. It is hot, hot, hot here—but the Miyako is so much more attractive in summer. There is to be a celebration, a great one here on the 16th of July—I wish we might come. I feel that no words of mine can show my regret for what I am and shame for what I do. I guess my talent has screened me from myself all along. It is well that I have come face to face with myself unequivocally at last. And when my need is greatest I am alone. When my money is gone I need it most…
Autograph letter signed (“Frank”), 1 page, quarto, Tokyo, 9 June, [no year], on imprinted stationery of The Imperial Hotel to his estranged wife Miriam, Ikao, Japan; with original envelope.
Wright writes in full: I enclose copies of two letters one to Kryuska San and one to Elizabeth Wigginten. I know you will think that I wrote them because you were going to show me up any way and I might as well make a ‘clean breast’ of it. Or some other ulterior motive. I have none but a desire to make it as right as I can. I will not write you of my loneliness here nor of my feelings. You must know well what they are. I am sending some films and if I can get to Yokohama tomorrow will send a box of ‘truffles’. I know you like them…In a postscript, Wright adds, a long lonely but lovely ride home. My face burned to a cinder—it scares me when I see it in the glass. We crossed the big river and came by the city of Maiba—good night.
When Wright wrote these letters, he and Miriam had recently become estranged, and they lived separately in different hotels in different cities. Married only four years, Wright and his second wife divorced in 1927.
$5,000 - $8,000