known American architect Frank Lloyd Wright
(1867-1959) in the Old Gallery.
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Samara: A Mid-Century Dream Home" is the story of
how a young couple from Lafayette, Indiana and a world-famous architect
worked together to build what was, for John and Catherine Christian, truly
their dream home. It is also the story of how the family continued to
honor the architect’s vision long after his death. They named their home
“Samara,” which is derived from a winged, or whirligig, seed. The house is
still a work in progress today.
Dr. John E. and Catherine (Kay) Christian, a Purdue University professor
and his wife, had followed and admired Wright’s work and they were sure
they wanted him to design their dream home. But with a limited budget, was
their project too small for such a renowned figure? It took some
convincing, but following a series of memorable meetings between 1950 and
1952 and after a flurry of correspondence, Wright accepted the commission.
He suggested one of his Usonian designs. First conceived by Wright in the
1920s, the Usonian house (an abbreviation for “United States of North
America”) was meant to be a modest-sized, environmentally sensitive
dwelling affordable to middle class families.
Told through the juxtaposition of original objects and furniture,
architectural fragments, rare archival materials, historic photographs,
and video footage, "Frank Lloyd Wright's Samara: A Mid-Century Dream Home"
explores the creation of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Indiana through the
eyes of clients who spent more than 50 years fulfilling the architect’s
In 1954, Frank Lloyd Wright said, “I believe a house is more a home by
being a work of art.” How does one live in a work of art? Museum visitors
will experience the process of building and living in a home designed by
America’s greatest 20th century architect. The exhibition also explores
how the home and its furnishings exemplified Wright’s philosophies about
the relationship between architecture and nature, ranging from the
extensive use of windows and terraces to the origins of the design motif
of the samara seed.
This family-oriented exhibition will consist of over 117 works including
furnishings, photographs, drawings, family memorabilia and interactives,
such as large, colorful stacking wooden blocks so visitors can mimic the
Samara elevation and floor plan in their own block model.
This exhibition is a Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of
Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.