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International Decorative Art

Tree of Life Leaded Glass Window

Tree of Life Leaded Glass Window

Design Date
1904

Designer
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959, American)

Manufacturer
Linden Glass Company, Chicago, IL

Media
glass with zinc caming in original pine frame

Dimensions
40 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches

Frank Lloyd Wright called his stained glass windows “light screens,” believing them to differ from the stained glass that originated in the Middle Ages in that his colored glass panels were clear and produced industrially, rather than painted to be opaque. He also used zinc metal strips to secure the panes, rather than lead. This produced windows intended to let natural light in, rather than screen it out, like traditional stained glass. The focus was on the artistry of the metal grilles (or caming) that the glass was set into, rather than the glass itself. It required great precision to cut the small (sometimes ¼ inch) pieces of hot glass and to assemble them in the grille. Wright designed the Tree of Life windows for the Darwin D. Martin home in Buffalo, New York (1903–1905). Wright wrote to Martin, “We haven’t designed ‘leaded glass’ for you, we have designed a dainty metal grille with glass insertion.” Wright designed at least 4,365 colored-glass windows for the 97 houses he built between 1885 and 1923. There were 394 pieces of art glass in the buildings of the Martin House complex in 15 primary patterns, 11 in the house alone. The Tree of Life design represents the apex of Wright’s art glass career due to its workmanship and its popularity in museums and in private houses. 

Not currently on view

Markings
unmarked

Credit Line
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number
1998.0006

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