April 11, 2004

Weekend of Frank Lloyd Wright

More accurately, the day of Frank Lloyd Wright...yesterday was the day of driving to the luxurious & cozy surroundings of the Scarsdale B&B in West Newton, PA, where we walked in the nearby cemetary as darkness fell and drove over the Monongahela River for a late dinner.

Our appointment at Fallingwater was for 1 p.m. - however, over an Easter Sunday breakfast of pecan/banana/maple syrup French toast, our fellow guests told us if we did Fallingwater, we HAD to check out Kentuck Knob, which photos cannot do justice. Fallingwater was stunning, especially where a staircase led down from the house to a platform inches above the rushing water. The tour was more of an exploration of the personalities who occupied the house and the exactness which F.L.W. demanded in both the construction and the actual lives of those housed in his finished masterpiece. We had about a dozen in our group, and the tour moved along at a good pace, touching lightly on the artifacts inside (although I did catch a glimpse of two framed music manuscripts, one from 1590, and one that appeared to be signed by Bach at the top).

But it was Kentuck Knob that blew me away. At first there were two of us and our guide, who happened to be the marketing director and extremely knowledgeable about every inch of the residence - she informed us that Fallingwater was built as more of a party house for the Kaufmanns to entertain in while on vacation from Pittsburgh, while the Hagan family used Kentuck as their primary residence. Entering the large, earthy living room, we were surrounded by priceless artifacts from the current residents and a comfy room full of red cypress triangles of light and space - the end of the room jutted into the landscape with sandstone walls and glass windows, giving no distinction between inside and out, but the carved overhangs with hexagonal trellises protected those peering out into the wild from inside.

I can't really do it justice, but every inch of the house felt warm and inviting while forcing you to look outside into the beautiful landscape, and was all the more incredible for each famous piece of art and artifact. The living room had a table with a 70 million year-old triceratops vertebrae, a dinosaur egg, a petrified sabertooth tiger bone and huge fossilized snake head. The walls were lined with American Indian pottery and two (Hawaiian?) warrior clubs. Current owner Lord Peter Palumbo filled the room with original F.L.W. furniture purchased at Christie's and Sotheby's auctions as well as modern Scandinavian pieces. Then there were his photo frames with Princess Di & G.W. (blecch)...

Other noted art...Claes Oldenburg's prototype for The Clothespin in Philadelphia, a turquoise-filled Tibetan headdress, four signed Warhols, one framed Lichtenstein drawing - and of course, I learned that this was the man that recently auctioned off the Farnsworth House in Illinois after a second-round of flood damage (the first cost him $10 million to rennovate).

Well, after all this stunning display of luscious, organic, priceless wealth - we go to the visitors center and there is Lord Palumbo and family themsleves! With their three dogs, and a little basket of Peeps and chocolate eggs put out by their teenage daughters for guests. We petted the dogs and complimented him on his purchase.

Needless to say, I have had extreme sensory overload and must allow my body the slumber it craves. *Sigh!*

Posted by zippy at April 11, 2004 10:35 PM