2012-06-07 / Local & State

Angry Frank Lloyd Wright Letter To Be Auctioned

MILL RUN, Pa. (AP) – An angry letter about the battles behind one of the most famous buildings in modern architecture is being auctioned.

Fallingwater is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces, but in the 1936 letter he threatened to walk off the job four months after work began.

“It is only fair to say to you directly that you will either fish or cut bait or I will,” Wright wrote to contractor Walter Hall. “With a set up suchas the present one turns out to be there can be only failure. I have not built one hundred and ninety of the world’s important buildings without knowing the look of the thing when it turns up on the job.”

Andy Masich, president and CEO of Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for a story Thursday that the letter is “an important historical piece relating to Fallingwater, which is arguably one of the most important pieces of American architecture.”

Fallingwater, a National Historic Landmark about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, was built over a waterfall. Wright was paid $8,000 in architect fees for the job, and construction was completed in 1938, according to the Fallingwater website. Hall, the lead contractor, was paid $50 per week.

The home was commissioned as a country retreat by the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, owners of Kaufmann's Department Store. The modern design, nestled into a rock mountainside, attracted immediate attention and was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1938.

The letter and an original blueprint of the house are being sold by RR Auction of Amherst, N.H.

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